Serving up a taste of the Dark Corner

Published 8:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2018

Landrum business owners open downtown moonshine shop

LANDRUM — Downtown Landrum’s newest business is offering more than just a vast selection of a uniquely American beverage.

It is also serving up a taste — literally — of one of the upstate’s most infamous regions.

Shine Town Moonshine owner Mike Southern serves up a sample to a customer Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Ted Yoakum/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

This week, local business owners Mike and Joy Southern opened the doors to their newest business venture, Shine Town Moonshine, located inside the former Getfitted Boutique storefront at 116 E. Rutherford St. The couple has partnered with Hendersonville’s Jeff Gould, a veteran of the moonshine distribution business, with the shop offering 100 flavors and varieties of the once-illicit alcoholic beverage.

During their visit, customers will have a chance to learn more about the history of the Dark Corner, the famous region in upstate South Carolina that become known as a haven for moonshiners during the early 20th century. Visitors can see photos of distillers during the Dark Corner’s heyday, and can share any personal or family moonshine tales with the staff, Mike said.

The shop is selling a variety of moonshines, including variations of other popular types of liquor such as vodka or rum. (Photo by Ted Yoakum/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

The shop will also offer free daily tastings, and will host events with local distillers and Dark Corner historians, Mike said.

“It’s a lot more fun than going to a traditional liquor store, grabbing a bottle off the shelf and paying for it at the counter,” Mike said. “It’s an experience here.”

Gould approached the Landrum pair — who also own Soulisa’s Fine Thai Dining, located a short distance away — several months ago, looking to lease the space for his moonshine shop. After learning more about his vision for the store, Mike and Joy decided that — instead of just renting out the space — they would partner with Gould, renovating the former dress shop into a moonshine boutique.

Shine Town Moonshine is located at 116 E. Rutherford St., and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Photo by Ted Yoakum/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

Gould has been a moonshine connoisseur ever since he began selling legal versions of the drink at his liquor store in Hilton Head eight years ago, and has sampled the wares of 150 distilleries across 15 states in his years selling the beverage. In the process, he became enamored with the history of the Dark Corner and of moonshine in general, a beverage that has been part of America’s history since the arrival of the Mayflower, Gould said.

“During Prohibition, more moonshine was made in the Dark Corner than anywhere else in America,” he said. “There were hundreds of stills operating between [Landrum and Traveler’s Rest].”

In addition to offering different varieties of moonshine — including variations of vodka, rum, tequila and over liquors — the owners plan to work with distillers to come up with different private labels for other Landrum businesses, such as The Yankee Peach and The Hare and Hound, Mike said.

The owners also hope to turn the business into an attraction for both local residents and visitors alike, Mike said.

“[Shine Town is] one of a kind, a must see in the area,” Gould said. “You can come by and get a piece of the history of America.”

The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, people may call 864-457-1161 or visit