moonshine in the parking lot
joe fenten & dark corner distillery
Joe Fenten has always loved a good story. During his days as an electrical engineer, Joe would gather his coworkers in the parking lot after work and invite them to share stories over a jar of moonshine. One day, as he and his friends were engaging in their nightly ritual, it hit him: “What if I built a place where people could share stories and great spirits all day?” In 2011, Joe opened Dark Corner Distillery – it was a quaint and intimate spot for drinks and conversation, but it eventually struggled to keep up with demand. Small equipment and limited tasting space hindered Joe from fully realizing his dream. Without a clear path for expansion, Joe could only focus on survival, and it became more difficult for him to stay passionate.
When all seemed lost, Joe happened to meet a group of investors that were able to help him grow his business. With the help of new management, Dark Corner expanded into a bigger production facility and opened a new tasting room on Greenville’s Main Street. The same year they also opened a whole new distillery on South Carolina’s scenic Hilton Head Island. With more tasting rooms and bigger stills, they were able to provide more drinks and foster more community than ever before.
However, things took a turn when management started pushing the business in a different direction. The focus became less about bringing people together and more about making a quick buck by churning out as many national spirit brands as possible. Joe’s unease grew, and he eventually realized that the heart of his company would soon be lost. It was then that he decided to listen to his gut and take back control.
Today, Dark Corner Distillery has rediscovered its roots as a place where all are welcome to share moment and make memories over a great drink. With new and improved options for all ages and all levels of drinking experience, Dark Corner Distillery embraces the idea that enjoying craft spirits is an experience unique to each and every one of us. While we may have moved past our parking lot moonshine days, we still love sharing life’s best moments with the folks who join us at our tasting room. We invite you to partake in our craft, while remaining free to enjoy the journey at your own pace.
COME, JOIN US FOR A DRINK AND A STORY OR TWO. WE’D LOVE TO GET TO KNOW YOU.
a dark inspiration
why dark corner?
Glassy Mountain Township – the northeastern corner of Greenville County’s Appalachian hills – is the nucleus of the area that has been known as Dark Corner for over 175 years. Its first settlers were Celts that left the lowlands of Scotland, Ulster in Northern Ireland and borderline England to immigrate to America. These Celtic descendants brought with them the ancient Celts’ knowledge of distilling grains to make the “the water of life,” which was viewed as a divine creation due to its curative powers and economic value. The making and selling of whiskey was virtually the only way many families could get ahold of actual money in a barter society.
After the Civil War, a Federal excise tax was levied against private distilleries. Dark Corner settlers began placing their distilleries in wooded areas far from roadways and conducting distilling operations at night so that the smoke would not be visible to revenuers searching for illegal sites. Thus, “moonshine” became the name for homemade whiskey.
from mountains to coast
our roots run deep
As a family-owned craft spirits company that’s passionate about telling spirited stories, our inspiration comes from all of South Carolina, not just the Upstate. Our sister in Hilton Head designs rums and vodka inspired by the other half of South Carolina: the coast.
always moving forward
what drives us?
We cherish our people and believe that the best moments are made when we’re together.
We foster the sharing of stories – old and new – in a unique setting that is fun, engaging, and relaxing.
We take pride in our craft and strive to always deliver an exceptional drinking experience.