The Keeper – Troy & Sons whiskeys

Not only does Troy Ball distill the “Keeper” kind of white whiskey, but she is a keeper.  Mother to three boys, two with special needs, she took care of her family until the boys were older and they qualified for assistance with their care.  Able to start something outside the home for herself, Troy wondered that would be.

In 2008, that day came.

After moving her family to North Carolina for health reasons, one of her new neighbors gave her a jar of his ‘shine – the good kind you keep, not what you sell down the road.  Troy thought the moonshine should have a place in the American beverage world, and that’s what she set out to do.

Welcome to LikeYourLiquor’s three part series about women in craft distilling, to celebrate Women’s History Month.  Meet Troy Ball of Asheville Distilling Co. I was able to catch up with Troy recently, to dig a little deeper into the story behind her moonshine.

LYL:  I admire your spirit (pun intended!), that you’re making what the locals like – you’re not trying to take the world by storm or drown the country in a bad product.  What struggles did you have starting off, that you alluded to on your site? Any other advantages to being a woman in a man’s world, other, than well, being a woman? 

TB: Starting out everyone thought I was crazy and I only had $20,000.  Those are two big hurdles.  My family and friends thought that I was crazy to go into the backwoods to learn how to make moonshine or white whisky, and when I told my husband that I needed to build a still he thought I had really lost it.  

With little money and no emotional support from my family, I had to dare to follow my intuition which was telling me that fine white whiskey was not yet on the market and this spirit would make beautiful cocktails.  I think women’s intuition played a big part in my decision making.  I was not afraid to listen to that voice in my heart and when it came to educating myself on the craft, it was very easy for me to switch hats constantly to build the business. And certainly the men in this world were more than happy to teach me what they knew once they realized I was serious. 

Troy Ball with her Platinum Whiskey

Troy Ball with her Platinum Whiskey

LYL: You mentioned that, “it takes large sums of money and constant work to spread the word about your products”.  What one thing would you say that you’ve done that has been the most effective (other than spend large sums of money)?

TB: I think we have been very good at getting publicity.  I knew from the beginning that we could not afford an expensive pr company, so I made sure that I story was well told and then I tried to put myself in all the right places for press to find me.  We also began collecting email addresses of visitors to our distillery when we opened.  We send monthly newsletters which are fun and well written.  This helps us to stay in touch with our fans.  (Watch Troy on CBS This Morning).

LYL: What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever had in a cocktail? And be honest – if it wasn’t mixed with your Platinum Moonshine, did you want to go home and try it??

TB: By far the strangest ingredient that I have tasted in one of our cocktails is fish sauce.  It was an ingredient that was used in a competition that we held in South Beach.   And believe it or not Zivi’s cocktail won!

“Celebrate your independent spirit with one of ours” is one of the taglines on the Troy & Sons website: I think that’s a clear description of the woman behind the moonshine.

You can try out their Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine, Oak Reserve or Blonde Whiskey that can be shipped to most states. If you’re in North Carolina, drop by the distillery for a tour and a tasting – tell them LikeYourLiquor sent you!

Troy & Sons products

About Jeanne Runkle

Jeanne Runkle currently lives in San Diego, and is a certified bartender and craft liquor expert. Her specialty is the brown stuff, whether it's bourbon, rye or good old American whiskey. She can sometimes be found stalking the aisles of a liquor store near you, answering your random whiskey questions.

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