Alabama Style

Sip-Clyde-Mays-WhiskeyClyde May’s whiskey is the official state spirit of Alabama.  

By Jan Walsh    

Photography by Beau Gustafson


People have been making illegal moonshine in Conecuh Ridge of Bullock County, Alabama, for generations. And they still are. Four illegal stills were shut down in 2014 as this went to press. But it’s undeniable: The place knows moonshine. It was here that Clyde May spent his life in pursuit of perfecting small batch whiskey.

Much of May’s stash was sold as White Lightening. But some was produced in small batches and laid down in charred oak barrels. This whiskey was poured into unmarked bottles and became known as “Mr. May’s Special Reserve.” And from Mr. May’s special reserve came this original craft whiskey.

Renowned for making illegal whiskey, Conecuh, at one point in its history, had the highest concentration of stills in the U.S. Having a grandmother from Union Springs, I shared some sips of vintage Union Springs moonshine with my dad back in the 90s. This unmarked bottle was part of the collection my great-grandfather Mason had stored under his porch. Smooth, with hints of blackberry and caramel, and strong as an ox. Memories get sweeter as time goes by, so my bar was high for Clyde May’s whiskey, made since 1946.

Deep bronze in color, with notes of caramel, butterscotch, apple, and maple, this rich, smooth whiskey rises to the occasion. And best of all, it is not only legal but also the official state spirit of Alabama (Resolution HJR100).

One Response to “Alabama Style”

  1. Robin Dohrmann says:

    Where can I buy your whiskey in the Gainesville FL area?

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