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UNION SPRINGS, AL (WSFA) -
Bullock County has often been the county of illegal moonshine busts. There is another moonshine operation going on but this one has received the blessings from the very people who regulate the liquor business in Alabama.
Welcome to 'High Ridge Spirits' in Bullock County on the outskirts of Union Springs. The new legalized distillery is the first in Alabama in more than 100 years.
Reporter: "Why are you doing this?"
Ray: "Why not? Craft distilling is really become quite popular," Ray said.
This has been two years in the making for Jamie Ray. Ray spent 8 months doing research and eventually received the necessary licenses from the state and federal governments. Ray houses his new business in a non-descript metal building on his property on County Road 7.
The Alcohol Beverage Control Board is under no illusions to think a legitimate business like 'High Ridge Spirits' will put outlaw moonshiners out of business. The reason, according to the ABC board, is they're not interested in going through the process and it is a process. And for many outlaws skirting the law in the moonshine business is a 'family tradition.'
"It's rather complicated. It took me 6 months to get all the licenses in and do the paperwork," said Ray.
Ray, meantime, plans to hire 5 employees. Ray hopes to send his first shipment of moonshine whiskey out next month. The first and only customer will be the ABC board which in turn will distribute the whiskey to its ABC stores across the state.
Ray is opening the lid on what he hopes will be a profitable venture with an eye towards the next level.
"I do think we will have to build a bigger building," said Ray.
For now though Jamie Ray and his partners are taking one bottle at a time, concentrating on recouping their initial investment totaling around $100,000.