SHREVEPORT, La. – Craft Breweries are sprouting up all over the county. People love to be able to sample the local beers from their hometown, and rightfully so. Shreveport/ Bossier has three local breweries with Great Raft, Red River, and Flying Heart and each one has at least one beer that a suds connoisseur is going to enjoy.
However, not everyone is enthusiastic about Shreveport/Bossier’s homegrown brews. The Crayfish sat down with one local moonshiner to get his experience with his own White Lightnin’ losing popularity as a result of more breweries.
Charlie “Boudin” Ardoin has been making corn liquor since “America was fighting the Commies.” We met him at an undisclosed location in northern Caddo Parish, far away from the prying eyes of the T-men, G-men, and the Revenuers too. He gave directions that involved “turn left when you see the Hank Jr. Confederate flag” and “be looking left when you start to smell that smell.”
When we arrived, he met us with a double barrel 12-gauge shotgun and frisked us to make sure we weren’t the law. We began the interview by asking him his perspective on the aforementioned breweries in Shreveport and Bossier City. “All them big city folks want fancy beers made from coconut oils and foreign food and aged in the Queen of England’s bath tub. They’re forgetting about what ‘Merica was and what made ‘Merica great,” he said while widdling a stick into a sharper stick.
“Well, I ain’t got none of them fancy ingredients. I got the clearest corn liquor this side of the Red and I charge a fair price. I ain’t got no bar for people to come sit on fancy chairs made from barrels and old farm equipment. I don’t sell no t-shirts. I ain’t got no fancy food trucks to sell high priced Mexican food to hungry folks. I ain’t got no internet. All I got is a copper still, a radio, and Moonshine that’ll make you go cross eyed when you get a good enough pull off the jug.” He then laughed like Yosemite Sam.
We asked if he would consider evolving his business into Shreveport’s first distillery and go legitimate. He replied with a snarl. “Legitimate?! Son, you are missing the point of good corn liquor. You got to follow the law dog’s rules and regs when it comes to going legitimate. You gotta keep the proof at 80 and it has to be safe for chim-pan-zees in science labs to drink and dear ol’ Uncle Sam is gonna come asking for his cut. Nah, I’d rather sit back here in the woods and make shine the way my daddy and my daddy’s daddy did ‘fore me. This here is ‘bout freedom. Them fancy beer joints don’t know nothin’ bout that. All they care about is passion fruits and corn hole. Whatever that is.”
He asked if we would like to sample his latest product and we obliged him. The taste about knocked us to the ground. He laughed uncontrollably and said “See?! You ain’t gonna get that from beer made from honeydews and raspberries. Drinking moonshine is based on a dare! I can power my Chevy on this!” He found this experience hysterical. It took us a few minutes to shake off the “insta-buzz” and by that time, the sun was starting to set.
We asked him about how much of a decline has there been in people buying moonshine based on what he has seen. “Folks just don’t like it like they used too. I’d sell out as soon as the last drop was in the fruit jar and then I’d drive into town and buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line and start the whole deal all over again. Now it takes a little longer to move. I have my regulars but all them Moo-llenials want pumpkin spiced Porter ale and grass-fed, harm free, wifi corn, and they just won’t buy it.”
It started to get dark and we told Boudin that was time for us to get going. He offered us a free jar of Moonshine and we took it to use as a holiday gift for someone we don’t like very much. We asked him if he would like The Crayfish to promote his business, and he said, “Sure. I ain’t got no cell phone cause I don’t want the government listenin’ in but you tell all your friends that you bought White Lightnin’ off ol’ Boudin and to come to the spot where you smell that smell and I’ll hook ‘em up.” We shook hands and parted ways.
In summation, moonshine may not be made from fruits and doughnuts, but it is still apart of Americana that should be preserved. Shreveport/Bossier may be changing with billion dollar renovations but we should never forget our roots. So, next time you and your friends want to go to one of the local breweries here in town, go see ol’ Boudin instead, and take part in a time-honored tradition.