(MONUMENT, Colo.) — While in Monument, you might catch the scent of apple pie or peach clobber in the air. If you follow your nose, you might just step foot inside 3 Hundred Days of Shine, a distillery known for making and serving traditional Colorado moonshine.

“Moonshine is basically any spirit back in the day or even today that was distilled by the light of the moon or under the purview of the law,” said Founder of 3 Hundred Days of Shine, Mike Girard. “So, it’s basically illegal, distilled spirits, that’s the term for moonshine.”

There are 13 different moonshines available for purchase inside the distillery. Courtesy: FOX21 Chief Photojournalist Mike Duran.

The signature ingredient at 3 Hundred Days of Shine is beet sugar, which is then turned into the signature spirit.

“It’s a great way to really taste like individual flavors and alcohol,” 3 Hundred Days of Shine Customer, Andy Norris, said. “So most times a year, like a mixed drink at the bar, something like a Red Bull vodka. But, like, this is a really good way to… facilitate, like, a homegrown type of taste and like, a unique taste for each individual element for a drink.”

While serving our country overseas, Girard first discovered his passion in learning the history of moonshine and how it could be produced.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” Girard said. “So I started researching a little bit and found that it was actually plausible. What they were talking about was could be done. So I took that as a challenge to experiment with what I had available to me, which was pressure cookers, mostly used by insurgents in Afghanistan.”

The three-gallon pressure cooker Improvised Explosive Device used in the first batch Girard made. Courtesy: FOX21 Chief Photojournalist Mike Duran.

Once Girard returned back from service, he was able to turn his passion into a business.

“I started making quite a bit different styles and things using different grains, and there’s a lot of people who make beer and wine in their garage,” Girard said. “I was making moonshine, so I just started making liquor.” 

While he does not need to use the pressure cooker, it is still inside the distillery as a reminder of his original batch.

The distillery also works to honor the history of moonshine, with newspaper articles all along the walls about illegal moonshining in Colorado.

“You’ll see those pictures in their newspaper articles all over our walls. We’ve got a lot of Colorado history here,” Girard said. “So, I mean, it feels good to talk to locals and natives who didn’t know that history existed and that Colorado had its own specific kind of moonshine because beet sugar was widely grown here, and it was manufactured here.”

Mason jars filled with moonshine are available for purchase above the bar. Courtesy: FOX21 Chief Photojournalist Mike Duran.

In keeping with the tradition of moonshine, mason jars are used to sell the spirit. If you stop inside, there is also a full bar in which you can purchase a cocktail with moonshine or try a tasting of some of the flavors.

“We got our full lineup, so you can do samplers, you can do a sampling, you can schedule a tour,” Girard said. “If you want to do a distillery tour on our website and come in and we’ll give you a full-blown tour. You can taste all of our spirits and all of our flavors, 13 different skews that we make right now, not including our seasonals, but right now we’ve got our cherry pie out, which is really popular in summer.”

When it came to picking the name of the business, Girard honored the state of Colorado and his passion for moonshine.

“I wanted it ‘Colorado’ from the name to what went into the jar,” Girard said. “So not only do we make a traditional Colorado shine, the name comes from Colorado’s unofficial slogan 300 days of sunshine, we just drop the sun because we make Colorado shine.”