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Minding Your Business: Georgia Distilling ready for reality TV show

Shawn Hall and Bill Mauldin are doing their ancestors proud.

The men are following in the footsteps of some of their relatives from years ago. Fortunately, they’re doing it on the right side of the law — and they could very well be on their way to stardom.

Hall and Mauldin are the founders of the fledgling Georgia Distilling Co. in Jackson.

In the 1960s, some of Hall’s relatives were locked up in Butts County for making moonshine. Mauldin’s grandfather, Charles Mauldin, used to “run hootch” in Turner County, he said.

Construction is under way at Hall’s and Mauldin’s 10,000-square-foot distillery at 540 W. Third St., across the street from the new county administration building.

“They’re framing up the inside now, and the still should be here in a couple of weeks,” Mauldin said.

One day as the men were reflecting on their dramatic journey into making liquor, Hall jokingly told Mauldin, “With all the stuff going on and all the crap on TV, we ought to have a reality show.”

The men sent out e-mails to production companies, and they were surprised at the number of responses. A dozen companies eager to film life in a small Southern town with some guys making liquor captured Hollywood’s imagination.

What started out as a joke turned serious. Mauldin and Hall winnowed down the companies from 12 to one.

They inked a deal with a California-based production company for a reality TV series, according to a recent release from Georgia Distilling.

“We got into this to make liquor, not Hollywood,” Mauldin said, but “this thing has been a fun ride.”

The proposed show does not yet have a title, and the company hasn’t started production yet, Mauldin said.

He stressed that the production crew is not only interested in the construction and development of the distillery and the day-to-day operations. The crew wants to highlight places and events throughout the state where Hall and Mauldin are conducting business.

“This essentially means that any town or business could be featured on a show, especially Macon,” the release stated.

“We can easily see ourselves filming episodes where we sponsor Bragg Jam or Southern Jam in Bolingbroke or even wandering the Cherry Blossom Festival.”

This should be fun. Get ready for your close-up, Middle Georgia.

Harold Goodridge is the business editor at The Telegraph. Contact him at 744-4382 or e-mail him at hgoodridge@macon.com.

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