KILN, Miss. (WLOX) - Kiln, Mississippi became known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World” during prohibition. Now a Hancock County man is using that history to put his modern-day legal whiskey distillery on the map.
He’s running the largest distillery in the state, and the future looks bright. 2020 came in with a bang at Crittenden Distillery in Kiln. Matt Crittenden made history by filling his company’s thousandth barrel two years after opening in South Mississippi.
“It’s a really big milestone. That’s the most I know of that anyone has ever produced and barreled that’s all Mississippi made from grain to barrel in this state,” Crittenden said.
Crittenden has easily become the biggest distiller in the state. When it comes to making whiskey, time tested ingredients are used, including corn, rye, malted barley, yeast and water. Crittenden is capitalizing on the colorful history of this part of the world, where bootleggers made moonshine in the early 20th century and probably still do. Books have been written documenting Kiln’s reputation as the moonshine capital of the world. Crittenden captures those days in every bottle of his number one selling product, Kiln Shine.
“By bringing this here to Kiln, we’re able to relive those stories and we tell those stories in a modern, and of course, a legal way,” Crittenden said.
After the whiskey is put in the barrel, it ends up being stored in what’s called a rickhouse. That’s where the magical aging process creates the whiskey or bourbon. Each barrel holds 53 gallons. Crittenden’s Kiln Shine and aged shine have both won awards from the American Distilling Institute.
Matt Crittenden has big plans to continue growing Kiln Shine and introduce new products out of his Hancock County distillery.
“We’re across the state with our shine right now. We really want to be there with our whiskeys. From there we’d like to expand and try to cover the southeast in the next three to five years and hopefully become a national brand,” Crittenden said.
Crittenden’s distillery also offers tours by appointment and takes reservations in its entertainment room for group events. The distillery is located on Highway 43 in Kiln.