Alyssa Morin

Music Preview – Moonshine madness in El Segundo’s Smoky Hollow

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Hangdog Expression performing at South Bay Customs. Photo by Dawn Von Flue

Hangdog Expression performing at South Bay Customs. Photo by Dawn Von Flue

Moonshine isn’t just for bathtubs anymore.

Ole Smoky Moonshine opened its distillery in 2010 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Now its secondary office is right here in El Segundo.

“We are Tennessee’s first legal moonshine,” Ole Smoky’s Niels Skou said. “When Tennessee state law changed to allow the distillation of spirits, we saw an opportunity to showcase the art of superior mountain-made moonshine.”

The brand is named after the Great Smoky Mountain range where the distillery rests. Flavors include original, apple pie, cherries and white lightnin’, and the mason jar bottles are showing up on shelves all over the South Bay. To formally launch their product at the beach, the folks at Ole Smoky got some help from their new neighbors.

“Our office is right next door to South Bay Customs,” Skou said. “We poked our head in one day and started talking to them. They have cool stuff going on over there. They want to support the community and taking part in the cool local stuff, too. And we are really latching onto the motorcycle community.”

Thus Ole Smoky Moonshine Night comes to South Bay Customs on Saturday night, promising an evening of moonshine tasting, folk music and barbecue pork.

“Ole Smoky just moved into town to expand their existing brand from Tennessee,” said Michael Schreiber of South Bay Customs. “And when they did I thought that our two brands were a match made in heaven so I approached them about hosting an event featuring their product to spread the word about their brand to their new neighborhood. They loved it so I booked a couple bands, pulled out the ol’ smoker to make a batch of our famous pulled pork sliders and, after Saturday, the rest will be history.”

The bands on the docket are South Bay Customs veterans Hang Dog Expression and Speedbuggy USA, local bands with deep country roots that will help the moonshine and pulled pork go down even more smoothly.

“Our sound is very country Fender, twang,” said Timbo of Speedbuggy USA. “I’m from Louisiana, but we live here now. I’m very excited that Ole Smoky moved in. El Segundo is a magnet now. And we love playing South Bay Customs.”

Hang Dog Expression is a six-member El Segundo-based folk band thats fill the stage with booming vocals, mandolin, guitar, musical saw, harmonica, stompbox and knitting needles. It doesn’t get much more country than them.

“I feel like we get smarter about how to play together,” said Nichlaus Von Hulsebus, guitarist and vocalist. “We are always trying to figure out new things we can do with harmony and rhythm and dynamics.”

Saturday has all of the trappings of a full moon pickin’ party. And Skou hopes the Ole Smoky event at South Bay Customs is the first of many.

“We hope to do a once-a-month thing there,” Skou said. “We’ll do tastings, a little educating. It’ll be cool and authentic. At the end of the day, it’s moonshine. I could talk for 30 minutes about what moonshine is. You just have to try it.”

Ole Smoky Moonshine Night is Saturday, January 11 at 8pm at South Bay Customs, 115 Penn Street, El Segundo.. Tickets are $20 and are available online at

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