Junior Johnson's Mug Shot, Wilkesboro, NC
Junior was caught only once by the revenuers. It was May 2, 1956. Junior had driven all night to get home after a race in Oxford, PA. His father asked him to light the fire at the family still before daylight broke and Junior did as he was told. The revenuers had staked out the Johnson still and ambushed Junior as soon as he walked up. Junior served 11 months of a two year sentence in federal prison in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was later pardoned by President Ronald Reagan.
Moonshine Bust at the Johnson house
The Johnson’s were moonshiners before, during and after Prohibition. When agents busted his family’s home Junior said, “We thought this was fun.” “The lawmen didn’t. They’d say, ‘You damn kids get off them cases.’ And we’d say, ‘You get outta here. This is our house.’” Junior’s distilling roots go all the way back to the Whisky Rebellion. To avoid taxation on their homemade whisky, his family traveled down the Appalachian Mountains and eventually settled in North Carolina. The Johnsons, like many other farming families, relied on the money from their whisky to survive. If they had paid the taxes on their spirits, they would not have had enough money to take care of the family.
Junior’s mother and father, Glenn Sr. & Lora, on their wedding day
Junior’s father, two brothers and mother were also involved in the business. Junior’s father went to jail 5 times and his brothers spent time in prison too. The only one who was never caught was Junior’s mother. When her husband was away she would keep the family business going. Revenuers tried to catch her but she was too smart and cautious to get caught. At one point, an undercover agent was trying to catch Mrs. Johnson. He became friends with Junior’s brother and showed up at the house one day to buy a quart of moonshine. Mrs. Johnson told her son that she would not sell to him and that he shouldn’t sell to him either because he didn’t know this guy very well. Junior’s brother said his new friend was alright and sold him a jar. Sure enough, he was arrested, but the revenuers still had nothing on Mrs. Johnson. Thanks to the Johnson’s tenacity and commitment to tradition, today we’re able to bring you a spirit that’s “smoother than vodka and better than whiskey,” as Junior likes to say.
Junior Johnson’s 1940 Ford bootlegging car
Junior was known for building the fastest cars and inventing gutsy driving moves so he didn’t get arrested hauling his ‘shine. He started bootlegging for his father at 14 years old and was never caught behind the wheel of the car. Junior said that “moonshiners put more time, energy, thought, and love into their cars than any racer ever will. Lose on the track, and you go home. Lose with a load of whiskey, and you go to jail.” Junior invented ways to give himself an edge, like the famed bootlegger U-turn. He even went as far as impersonating cops by installing lights and sirens on his car, so he could confuse the revenuers that were chasing him down the road.
Junior with Joe Michalek, Piedmont Distillers’ Founder and President
In 2007, Junior’s life came full circle when he became part owner of Piedmont Distillers. Junior was in the moonshine business again, except this time it was legal. Junior worked with Our Founder (Joe Michalek) to craft Midnight Moon. When time came to taste Midnight Moon for the first time, Joe called on Junior at the mechanics shop on his old farm. Like usual, he was cooking breakfast for his farm hands and friends. Joe waited while Junior and his boys taste-tested what would become Midnight Moon Original. Then finally, one of the guys said, “Damn Junior. We’ve been trying to make moonshine this good for 50 years.” Handcrafted in small batches, made from corn and triple-distilled to be clean and smooth, Midnight Moon brings together the moonshine of the past, with the know-how of today, to give you the best tasting moonshine you’ll ever have.
Junior with a Freshly-Made Jar of Strawberry
Thomas Wolfe called him the Last American Hero and today Junior’s still going full steam. He stops by the distillery often and is proud to see the revival of his family’s moonshine legacy. Midnight Moon is 100% all-natural corn, triple-distilled and blended with ultra-clean water that’s been through a five-step filtration process. The result is a very smooth spirit with a subtle sweetness from the corn.
Proudly made by our very own hands
Midnight Moon Apple Pie, Cherry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, and Cranberry start with the ultra-smooth Midnight Moon recipe. Each jar is handcrafted and authentically infused with real fruit, the way moonshine was meant to be made. All of the fruit flavor and color comes from the fruit itself, just as nature (and moonshiners) intended. No colors, additives, preservatives or artificial flavors are added to our fruit Inclusions. Midnight Moon tastes like real fruit, because it’s made with real fruit. Our hardworking team also hand applies every batch label, lid, and closure seal at the distillery in Madison, North Carolina
Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Family of Spirits
Midnight Moon is available in seven flavors – Original, Apple Pie, Blackberry, Blueberry,Cherry, Cranberry and Strawberry. It is sold throughout the United States. You can find Midnight Moon at most local liquor stores or request that it is sold in your favorite store. See Midnight Moon Recipes Find The Shine Near You