STILL THE ONLY ONE
Tuttle-based distiller Ricky Sowers first became fascinated with making his own alcohol as a home-schooled teenager learning about the chemistry of ethanol.
By age 16, he had found a local moonshiner to mentor him. Working with a still he made himself in a barn off a country road near Tuttle, Sowers says he is now Oklahoma's first legal distiller of moonshine.
“I turned a hobby into a business because I thought it would be best to do that rather than going to jail,” he said.
He and his wife Georgia Sowers' company is called Okie Shine. Since getting the company up and running about four months ago, Okie Shine's products are already available in about 380 liquor stores and 60 bars across the state.
Georgia Sowers bottles and labels Okie Shine, as well as coming up with new mixed-drink concoctions for the products.
“At first I was kind of in shock about what he was actually doing until I saw it,” she said.
Sowers said he has had several moonshining mentors over the years, the last of which also used the name Okie Shine.
Sowers later asked the man's widow for permission to use the name.
“I learned from winemakers to beer makers to the hard spirits (producers) — most of the guys, I would most likely say, were not legal,” he said. “I more or less bugged all of the old timers at the gas station.”
While most moonshine is made from grain or corn, Okie Shine is made from brown sugar, making it more of a moonshine rum.
The Sowers now are working on making new flavors for their moonshine, including peach pie, strawberry shortcake and a serrano pepper moonshine, which Georgia Sowers envisions will be great in Bloody Marys.
“Whatever flavors we are asked to make , we will try it at least once,” Ricky Sowers said.
Here's where you can find Okie Shine around the metro
Chisholm West Wine and Liquor
1223 Garth Brooks Blvd. (Yukon)
Midwest Wine & Spirits
7546 SE 15th St. (Midwest City)
The Bottle Shop
13516 N Eastern Ave. (OKC)
751 Canadian Trails Dr. Suite 100 (Norman)