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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Piedmont Distillers Powers Daytona 500 Entry With Moonshine

NASCAR and bootleg moonshine share a common history in the southeastern United States. It is only fitting that for the 50th Daytona 500 taking place next week that a legal moonshine company is sponsoring a car in the sport's premier race.

Piedmont Distillers of North Carolina is sponsoring Jeremy Mayfield’s Haas CNC Racing entry in the Daytona 500. The number 70 car will be promoting Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon brand. Johnson, who won the race in 1960 and ran illegal moonshine in his youth, is also driving the pace car for the big race.

Mayfield first competed in NASCAR’s top series in 1993. He has five wins and has earned more than $32 million in his career. The Haas 70 car is locked in the field for the race thanks to finishing among the top 35 cars at the end of last season. Mayfield has to be considered a long shot in the field, but for a small spirits brand like Midnight Moon the race could be a marketing bonanza. Piedmont's marketing budget is dwarfed by brands like Budweiser, Jim Beam, Jack Daniel's and Miller Lite, other alcohol brands in the race, but the link between moonshine and NASCAR, along with the Junior Johnson connection, means the car will get more than casual attention. NASCAR fans are also noted for strong loyalty in supporting products that sponsor teams.

Piedmont Distillers is the only legal spirits distillery in North Carolina. In addition to Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon it also makes Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine. That brand has also had involvement as a NASCAR sponsor. The brands are available in 12 states: North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi, Virginia, Wisconsin, Louisiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

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