INDIAN TRAIL – Whiskey is being made in Union County, and it’s legal to boot.
Doodle Sasser Distillery celebrated the production and distribution of its GOAT Whiskey (Greatest of All Time) with a grand opening celebration of its location in Indian Trail on Nov. 17. Owner Paul Collins and his family celebrated in style with free tastings, free food and tours of the distillery, which is located at 268C Unionville-Indian Trail Road.
Their whiskey is fermented from a pure grain mash that is high in rye and barley content, which gives it a flavor unlike other whiskeys, owner Paul Collins said. The whiskey is distilled multiple times to give it a smooth taste, and the charred Carolina white oak aging process gives GOAT a smoky flavor.
But the name of the distillery comes from a cousin of Collins that produced not so legal whiskey back in Georgia in the 1950s. That information came to Collins’ attention while watching the show “Moonshiners” with his father a few years back.
“It was my grandfather’s cousin,” Collins said. “My grandfather was a teetotaler and a farmer in south Georgia. His cousin was the other way. Also a farmer in south Georgia and he was not a teetotaler. Doodle started selling by the gallon and he started getting nicer tractors, nicer equipment, a nicer barn. My dad said, ‘your cousin went to jail for a while after being caught.’ So, we knew we had to name the distillery after Doodle Sasser.”
Collins, with a family recipe in tow, started the process of opening a distillery almost three years ago, which is tightly regulated by the state. Now, it takes about a month to get the whiskey from the mash to the bottle.
And the name of the new product came from Collins’ son, Alex Collins, a 15-year-old who attends Butler High in Matthews. Alex Collins also brands each cork, that features an outline of a goat, for every bottle of GOAT Whiskey. Alex’s sister, Morgan, came up with the company’s logo.
“Alex came up with the Greatest of All Time, and we couldn’t come up with anything, and it sounded good so we went with it,” Paul Collins said. “All of our corks are branded and we bottle everything here. If Alex is doing well in school and he is behaving, then he gets paid for every cork that he brands. If he is grounded, then he volunteers for the family business. He hasn’t been grounded in a year-and-a-half, so it has been kind of expensive. The first batch that he did was 1,000 corks and it took four hours.”
GOAT Whiskey is only available at the distillery and people are limited to five bottles a year but Collins is hoping the next step is to be able to start distributing his product in ABC stores in the state. The whiskey recently won a Silver Medal at the 2018 New York International Spirits Competition and a silver at 2018 North American Bourbon Whiskey Competition. There were over 600 entries at the NYISC competition.
“We are set up for our listing meeting in Raleigh (on Nov. 19),” Collins said. “It would be nice to be able to go into the ABC stores.”
Paul Collins said he has plans to expand his production to include more than just GOAT Whiskey.
“Right now, we are just the whiskey,” Collins said. “We have a vodka that we are playing with different flavors. We are trying different blends. Do we want to do potato? Do we want to do wheat?”
On the web: www.goatwhiskey.net/wordpress/.