VILLA HILLS, Kentucky — Dan Gibson wants people to know his Villa Hillbillies moonshine is more for sipping with neighbors than savoring each taste for subtle, nuanced flavors.
“We’re not taking ourselves too seriously,” the Villa Hills resident said. “It’s a drink for people who want to have fun."
Gibson’s wife, Dina, came up with the lighthearted brand name for the raw corn whiskey after she persuaded her husband to try craft distilling as a hobby. She also helped select the three flavors of moonshine — original, apple pie and fire jack — to be sold at Second Sight Spirits in Ludlow, Kentucky. The original flavor will go on sale starting 5 p.m. Friday at the distillery, located at 301 B Elm St., with the other two flavors to follow soon.
“I didn’t think it would turn into this,” Dina Gibson said.
Ironically, she said she does not drink the product. The Gibsons’ neighbors do, though.
"The more and more people tried it, the more requests there were," Dan Gibson said.
One of those neighbors eventually suggested Gibson contact Rick Couch and Carus Waggoner, owners of Second Sight. Gibson said they all agreed on a business partnership to bring Villa Hillbillies moonshine to the masses after talking.
“We just kind of backed into it,” Gibson said of his relationship with Second Sight. “They were nice enough to bring the brand to life."
The three flavors of moonshine will double the number of craft liquors sold at the distillery. Waggoner and Couch launched their business last year with unbarreled and spiced rum. They recently added a barrel-aged rum to the lineup and now distribute all three flavors to liquor stores and restaurants around Greater Cincinnati. Gibson hopes to distribute his flavored moonshine by April.
Waggoner and Couch both said they were glad to bring Gibson aboard and share their space to increase Second Sight's offerings as they begin producing bourbon and other whiskeys.
In the meantime, Gibson is busy distilling enough moonshine to meet expected demand. He has employed his wife, in-laws and friends to help pour his corn whiskey from a still kept in a back room at Second Sight into glass jugs, and then apply labels -- kind of like moonshiners of yore.
“Our tagline is everyone has a little hillbilly in them," Gibson said.