Raymond Fairchild is the real deal, and no one has ever accused him otherwise. From his earliest days entertaining tourists with his banjo in Maggie Valley, NC as a young man, people haven’t taken him lightly. Though not a savage man by any means, he cuts an imposing figure, and when he refused to take the stage with The Crowe Brothers some years ago without his omnipresent sidearm strapped in place, well… I don’t think anyone was much surprised.
The ways of his Smoky Mountains are deeply ingrained in his soul, including not only the bluegrass music he learned as a boy in the 1950s, but also the many mountain folkways that have passed down from one generation to the next as far back as anyone remembers. Secrets about the region’s wild growing herbs and the cures they offer, and the way the mountain folks have made moonshine whiskey since before there was a government to regulate it are in his blood.
Over the years, Maggie Valley locals in far western North Carolina have known that Raymond was a man that could get you clear liquor of the highest quality. As the local manners demand, you don’t ask where he got it from, you were just happy he had some to give you. And now that states around the US are licensing distilleries to produce this type of alcohol made in the old time way, Fairchild, has been quick to lend his name and his expertise to its distilling close to home.
A few years ago he worked with a distillery called Howling Moon, and he has now partnered with another small Maggie Valley company called Elevated Mountain Distillery Company. His special flavored varieties will be available in stores next week, starting with his root beer flavor. All of there are distilled using his old family recipes.
And the water… Everyone knows that what makes good moonshine is good water, and the folks in the Smokies are quite certain that what flows down their mountain streams is the best you can find anywhere.
A number of other seasonal flavors are also planned for Elevated Mountain’s Raymond Fairchild Whie Lightning. The next time you are traveling in western North Carolina, take a side trip to Maggie Valley to hear Raymond play, and pick up some of his mountain spirits.