Our story begins in a time where moonshiners and bootleggers weren't just misfits and outlaws. They were independent, determined, hard-working folks; living in a time where jobs were scarce, and putting food on the table was often accompanied by the ever-present risk of a run in with the law. Enter the life of a moonshiner.
In our opinion, to be a successful moonshiner, you needed 3 things: ingenuity, patience, and little bit of luck. It just so happened that Bud Kelley’s great grandfather, Dave Johnson, had a little patience, a little luck, and a great deal of ingenuity; all cultivated by years of producing some of West Tennessee’s finest white liquor.
While Dave’s product was great in its own right, it was his ingenuity that inspired the name of our distillery – Branchwater. Depending on the day that you ask Bud Kelley, you might get a different answer for the reason behind the name. But more times than not, you’ll hear the age old story of how Bud’s great grandfather left many revenuers scratching their heads, by using a strong branch and pulley system to keep his equipment suspended high above the law, as they searched frantically among the woods below for his famed copper still.
Today, Bud Kelley carries some of Dave's traditions along with his own knowledge and engineering to produce what we believe is the best yet.
Bryan "Bud" Kelley is a man on a mission; a mission to bring the best moonshine to the bartops, tables, and tailgates of America.
Bud's born talent for creating great things with his hands started with building and racing drag cars in his early adult years, then onto working on heavy machinery in the agriculture and rail industries.
With a penchant for southern traditions, Bud decided to try his hand in the process of moonshine making as told in stories that began long ago. While pursuing his interest in moonshining, he soon found that crafting and distilling quality spirits was not only something he did well, but it was something that proved to be quite rewarding to him. The excitement he feels as fresh moonshine flows into a jar is what keeps Bud's passion for quality moonshine throughout every batch.