A Legacy of North Carolina
Jeremy Norris, Broadslab Distillery’s owner and master distiller, traced his family lines back in order to capture the rich heritage of the region's famed moonshine when building Broadslab Distillery. It's a history rich with exploits, perseverance, and a quality product. Our recipes are the embodiment of this legacy and were passed down by Jeremy’s great-great grandfather, William “Bill” McLamb. Bill was active in the dawn of the moonshine trade and was distilling smooth, sipping whiskey long before prohibition. Jeremy's grandfather, Leonard A. Wood, actually passed on the family recipe to him. As Jeremy's mentor and personal advisor, he was integral in building the Broadslab still, but passed away shortly after the distillery actually opened. The Distillery sits in the footprints of many of his still sights on the family farm outside Benson, NC.
Building the Still
As Jeremy Norris, owner, set about to operate Broadslab Distillery, he focused on absolute authenticity. From the corn he used to his secret recipe, developed through generations of his family, he cut no corners in doing exactly what he felt was necessary to deliver the subtle taste that would allow his patrons to enjoy the best authentic whiskey. Nowhere is this commitment more apparent than in the very heart of Broadslab Distillery - the 500-gallon, copper pot still, he had built to produce Broadslab Distillery’s distinctive product line.
While there are various designs of commercial distilling units available, nothing renders authentic hand-crafted results while maintaining traditional methods from long ago, like a hand-crafted, solid copper pot still. A pot still is the iconic still traditionally seen in movies and photographs of moonshine lore. They were originally built compact to run small batches of moonshine and easily broken down to components for portability.
Our flue-cured process of aging whiskey honors North Carolina’s long rich history of tobacco farming and whiskey production. To some it is unknown, or maybe even forgotten, but the tobacco industry was once the largest source of income for North Carolina. Tobacco growing and manufacturing shaped North Carolina’s development into the economic stronghold that it is today. Revenues from the tobacco industry founded, built, and funded schools, universities, churches, hospitals, and community centers, which, in turn, created jobs and numerous tax dollars. The illegal moonshine trade or bootlegging also had a similar impact on North Carolina’s development, but on a smaller scale. Many may not admit it but bootlegging paid for many college educations, built churches, and supported many election campaigns.
I grew up on this farm and was raised by my Grandfather, Leonard A. Wood. We grew and sold produce here. My grandfather also tended this farm with his father and made his fair share of whiskey here. This farm has been in my family since the 1840s.
My Grandfather taught me a lot on the farm. I became intrigued with farming and moonshining at an early age. He unknowingly did this by sharing all of his stories of times past. My Grandfather was a farmer and a moonshiner up until the late 1950s when the feds decided it was time for him to retire from bootlegging.
I started this distillery producing a true, handcrafted, dirt to bottle, authentic moonshine using my Grandfather’s recipe as a way to diversify and produce a value added product utilizing the grains grown on the farm. My goal was to stay engaged in farming on a small scale by making it profitable at a time when small family farms were becoming unprofitable and fewer in numbers.
As the years have passed, we are continuing the tradition of producing authentic moonshine but we have also grown into producing some very fine bourbons and rye whiskeys.
Why Jeremy chose to create Broadslab Distillery?
In the 1700s, Broadslab was the nickname that was given to the community that the distillery and farm currently reside on. There was a road that was built in this area from ‘broadslabs’. These slabs were produced when logs were cut on the outer edge to square them up so they could be sawed into lumber. These heart-pine, outer slabs were of little to no value so they used them to build a solid road bed thru the marshy, dismal area. A lot of our farm sits in a dismal in a Carolina Bay basin. The road built using these ‘broadslabs’ ran through our farm so wagons could pass and not sink in the extremely wet and low area. The Broadslab area has a long running reputation for bootlegging where it is known for its quantity and quality of moonshine that was produced in this area. Back in the day, if you lived in Broadslab, there is a good possibility that you made whiskey, sold whiskey, ran whiskey or drank whiskey!