Mercer County man wins ‘Master Distiller’ TV show competition

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) – Besides riding horses and harleys in his spare time, Lerona native Dustin Croy told 59 News making liquor became a favorite hobby for him and his friends about two years ago.

“We would go to horse events and concerts, ” Croy recalled. “I’ve experienced some bad liquor at some of these places and I figured I could make something a little better.”

That hobby landed him the opportunity of a lifetime after he took a chance applying for a casting call for Discovery Channel’s show, Master Distiller.

“They called me two days later and said we want you on the show,” Croy explained. “4,600 people put in for it and they cast 12 people.”

Croy got in his car and drove to Tennessee to film for ten days. He competed against two other highly experienced distillers in several rounds involving potency and flavor, and had his recipes judged by professionals in the business.

“After you flavored up for the last round someone got eliminated, then you made it to the finals and the two went head to head with a recipe from home,” Croy said.

Croy not only made it to the final two, but won the judges over with his vanilla banana rum.

“They really enjoyed mine they said it was really sell-able… something they were pleased with,” Croy said with a smile. “Once I won, I was in shock I couldn’t believe it!”

As the prize, his signature rum will soon hit the shelves of Sugarland’s Distilling Company in Gatlinburg, Tennessee this fall.

“Going from nobody knowing about it to everybody is a crazy experience,” Croy said. “I’ve had all kinds of people tell me they can’t wait to try it and they’re really looking forward to it.”

Right now, Croy is just soaking in the achievement and is unsure if he will move forward with starting his own brand. Moonshine’s Master Distiller airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Discovery.

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