Food & Drink

Not your grandpa’s hooch: Columbia distillery releases small batch whiskey

Crouch Distilling’s 2017 release of Jimmy Red Corn Whiskey is Nov. 4.
Crouch Distilling’s 2017 release of Jimmy Red Corn Whiskey is Nov. 4. Provided photograph

It’s the season for craft beer and spirits, and distilleries in South Carolina are taking advantage. In fact, Phil and Jessica Crouch of Columbia’s Crouch Distilling announced the release of the second year of their Jimmy Red Corn Whiskey to go on sale Saturday, Nov. 4.

Made with South Carolina-grown Jimmy Red corn, the small batch whiskey was a hit last year and, according to Phil Crouch, garnered attention from NPR.

The corn, grown by Greg Johnsman of Geechie Boy Mill and Market on Edisto Island, is prized for its sweet, nutty flavor. Crouch’s whiskey itself has been described as retaining the “flavor of the corn from which it was distilled, offering a warm, aromatic spirit experience and a wholly unique way to enjoy this historic heirloom grain.”

Jimmy Red corn was first cultivated by Native Americans in the South, and remained important to the people of South Carolina and Georgia until the rise of industrialized agriculture.

Brought back from near extinction and milled primarily for grits and cornmeal, Jimmy Red corn has been included in the Slow Food Ark of Taste and featured on the menus of chefs such as Charleston’s Sean Brock.

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Crouch uses Jimmy Red corn as well as other native heritage products — such as Black Seashore rye and sugar cane from St. George — in their spirits.

The 2017 batch of Jimmy Red Corn Whiskey will go on sale Saturday at the distillery at 947 S. Stadium Rd., for $60 per bottle. A limited number of bottles will be available to retailers throughout the state after Nov. 4.