Business

Hemp moonshine and jalapeno beer entice visitors to dry Mercer County

palcala@herald-leader.com

It’s been a year since Harrodsburg voters approved the expansion of alcohol sales, which allowed restaurants to sell alcohol. Although the county in which it resides, Mercer, is dry, the town is home to a downtown pub and a brewery that offers a unique product.

Lemons Mill Brewery, at 166 Marimon Ave, is a craft brewery that also sells beers with names like “G-Spot,” a Jalapeno Ale, and “OG,” a Citrus Blonde Ale.

LeMayne Ellis, one of the owners of Lemons Mill Brewery, also runs the brewery with associates Steve Anderson, Keith McQuerry and Jay Anderson.

The brewery has 18 beers on tap with plans to increase the size to 24. About 10 of the beers are produced in the brewery itself. Ellis said the brewery produces 400 to 500 gallons of beer a month.

Ellis said when he first got into craft beer production, he spoke to those who had experience in craft beer, such as people from Country Boy Brewing, which recently opened a new brewery and taproom building in Georgetown. Ellis called the craft beer community a brotherhood.

“The craft beer market is so cool,” he said. “Even though you’re making beer like everybody else is, everybody has got different taste. It’s not like you’re competing.”

The Lemons Mill Brewery opened the taproom around Labor Day last year. The taproom is open Friday through Sunday and on days when the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team plays — hence, blue lights decorating the bar.

The brewery has also expanded its products to be available outside the county, such as numerous locations in Lexington, Danville and Richmond.

About two miles north from Lemons Mill Brewery lies another place that produces and sells and alcohol: Olde Towne Distillery at 551 Tapp Road.

The distillery produces unique concoctions such as hemp moonshine, which is produced with hemp seed grain. As typical with distilleries, Olde Towne distillery contains a gift shop and tasting room, too.

Bill Jagger, head of distilling, blending and bottling, said the distillery’s most popular products include the Elkhorn Bourbon, blue raspberry, apple pie and watermelon moonshines.

In addition to hemp moonshine, the distillery produces more common moonshine flavors such as maple, watermelon and peach. The moonshine is available to purchase in classic jugs that were common in the prohibition era.

The distillery plans on releasing a rum that is aged with toasted cherry tree wood chips in either March or April.

Karen Hackett, executive director of the Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourist Commission, said the two alcohol producers in the region add an additional tourism experience.

“Having a distillery and a brewery in our community is an opportunity for our visitors to enjoy new tourism opportunities that have never been available since prohibition,” she said.

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