Ready to run

Dustin Croy of Lerona poses in his garage in Athens on Monday. After winning a distilling competition that aired as an episode of ‘Moonshiners: Master Distiller,’ Dustin will soon be seeing his face on his own brand of Cowboy’s Banana Rum.

LERONA — A Mercer County resident who demonstrated his distilling skills last year when he competed against other moonshiner makers and won will soon see his face on bottles of a product he created.

In early March 2020, Dustin Croy of Lerona competed on the Discovery Channel show “Moonshiners: Master Distiller” in an episode titled “Rum Conundrum.” After advancing in the show’s rounds against other skilled distillers, the signature recipe he had put so much work into perfecting, Cowboy’s Banana Rum, won the competition. He had worked a long time to create it.

“Experimenting,” Croy replied when asked how he developed Cowboy’s Banana Rum. “I’ve tried a lot of different flavors and combinations over the years. That one really went together. It really combined and turned out excellent. So when they called me and asked me to do a rum episode, I thought it would be an excellent time to let them taste this.”

For winning on “Moonshiners: Master Distiller,” Croy will see his Cowboy’s Banana Rum go on sale at the Sugarlands Distilling Company in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Croy plans to be on hand to see his rum reach the store’s shelves.

“I’ll be down there Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m.,” Croy said Friday. “They’re going to have a big release party down there for us. They finally got the label printed up and sent over to me. Everything is legitimate and ready to go.”

The company is making a special lot of Cowboy’s Banana Rum for sale.

“They’re doing a limited run of it,” Croy said, adding that this run will come to about 750 gallons of his rum.

Being selected to compete on the show and prevailing during its demanding challenges has become a special moment in Croy’s life.

“It’s been great experience all around,” Croy said. “I’ve met some of the nicest people in the moonshiner community and their families. I mean, when you share in something like that, they treat you just like family. “

Croy is hoping that the sales in Gatlinburg won’t be the only time Cowboy’s Banana Rum is available to fans of moonshine.

“The contract with Sugarlands is just a onetime limited run with them, so as soon as we’re finished with that, I’m going to try and see if I can find a distributor to pick up the label on the moonshine,” he stated. “I’m hoping I can get it back in West Virginia.”

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com

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