Caroline Delaney says she’s easy to please when it comes to dipping into the spirits. She’ll try anything, she says.
But lately she’s had a favorite drink of choice — her own.
Delaney, who graduated from NC State in 2008 with an accounting degree, and her husband own Muddy River Distillery, in Belmont, N.C., and produce Carolina Rum. The couple uses a still that her husband, a former contractor, built. They do everything from making the rum to bottling the rum and attaching the labels to the bottles.
Delaney says the idea came to her husband a couple of years back when he was on the road a lot for his contracting job. He wanted something that would allow him to be home more and just happened to come across an in-flight magazine that talked about the craft distilleries that were making a mark.
The couple worked on making Muddy River for a year while they both held down full-time jobs. But recently, both left those jobs to concentrate solely on the distillery.
“It was pretty crazy,” Delaney says. “We did it as a hobby on weekends. It reached a point where we had to do it full time or just let it go. We weren’t having any time for ourselves.”
So they both committed. And the gamble is paying off. So far, Carolina Rum is in more than 275 ABC stores around the state. It’s also a staple in some bars around Charlotte, which is close to Muddy River’s headquarters in an old textile mill sitting nicely on the banks of the Catawba River, for which the company is named, in Gaston County. And Muddy River’s work space is expanding from 500 square feet to a 6,000 square-foot space on the other side of the mill.
Delaney says that Carolina Rum won its first award in December at a competition in Greensboro, and that customers compliment its distinct taste.
“They say it’s really smooth and has a different aftertaste than most rum,” she says.
The Mecklenburg County Alumni Network will tour Muddy River Distillery Tuesday, May 28. If you would like more details on the event, check out the event’s page on the Alumni Association’s website.