Jimmy Red Corn
Here at Doc Brown Farm & Distillers, we grow heirloom grains for distilling and for the table. Our aim is to revive part of Georgia’s rich farming heritage and show everyone how good liquor and cuisine tasted in the South before Prohibition and modern agriculture changed things.
Our first batches of bourbon have been made from Jimmy Red Corn raised here on the farm. This is a gorgeous variety of maize which is rich in color and flavor. Its pearl-like burgundy kernels are a feast for the eyes and the taste is even better when we grind it down to grits or distil it into bourbon.
But here’s the special part. The flavor you get with Jimmy Red Corn is influenced significantly by the soil it grows in. Because we grow the corn ourselves, when you sip our bourbon the taste on your tongue is unique to Doc Brown Farm.
A taste of history
Nobody quite knows where it originated, but it’s thought that Jimmy Red made its way from Appalachia to James Island in Charleston, SC, sometime around 1900. Farmers there grew it and used it to make Jimmy Red hooch, which became a local legend.
During Prohibition, the practice went underground. Varieties like Jimmy Red were originally cultivated mainly to make moonshine, but as Prohibition came in most farms replaced them with conventional white or yellow corn, bred to produce starch and oil rather than flavor.
By the early 2000s, Jimmy Red Corn had nearly died out along with the last farmers to have grown it. The final few ears were saved by seed enthusiast Ted Chewning, who cultivated it and established a seed stock to preserve and revive the strain.
Today, we are one of a small number of farms in the South producing Jimmy Red, hand pollinating our crop to avoid cross contamination with other corn varieties and carefully tending the fields to make sure those kernels grow round and juicy, full of Jimmy Red’s rich, nutty flavor.
More to come
Although Jimmy Red Corn is our focus, we’re having conversations with other farms in Georgia who are growing their own heirloom grains. Soon, we hope to use their crops to distil fresh throwback whiskies, widening our range and giving you more opportunities to taste Old South heirloom liquors.
We are also making gin and vodka, using Jimmy Red and other Georgia grains to make our base spirits. All the botanicals and infusions we use will be sourced here in Georgia as well. Watch this space.Find out more