Queer Voices spoke to William Kehler, Founder and CEO of Manhattan Moonshine, the New York-based white whiskey company that is shaking up perceptions of moonshine and bringing it to a whole new audience.

What generally comes to mind when you picture moonshine? Most likely a low quality, high alcohol beverage that is drunk illicitly by old men which has a penchant for causing blindness amongst other ailments. Manhattan Moonshine kicks these tired stereotypes into touch with a whiskey that is both very drinkable and the perfect base for cocktails.

Kehler explains that his love affair with whiskeys started when he was in college, but he only tried his first silver whiskey (as moonshine is known in the whiskey community) as recently as a few years ago – he hated it. “Although the moonshine I tasted was terrible, I thought that it has got to be possible to produce a great silver whiskey, as silver tequila and rum can be so great.” The desire to achieve quality in this category is what inspired Kehler to found Manhattan Moonshine.

Kehler puts down previous moonshine incarnations bad quality and taste to the fact that in the past moonshines were made following brown whiskey recipes that didn’t follow all the steps needed to make a quality finished product.


By including all the missing pieces Manhattan Moonshine has managed to produce a whiskey that has been rated the highest in its category, as well as being one that is a truly flexible drink to enjoy for all cocktail lovers out there!

Seasonal Delights

With the summer fast approaching, we asked Will, the best way to enjoy a Manhattan Moonshine in the sun. “Although this may sound strange because of the drinks light flavor, but for Spring and Summer a Manhattan Moonshine with a tonic – not a mixer you’d usually consider having with a whiskey – is killer! Also, a Mint Julep at a BBQ hits the spot.”

All mixed in

“Whiskey Isn’t just a drink for old white men anymore. The heavier barrel flavors of brown whiskeys have turned people off whiskey in the past. Manhattan Moonshine is the perfect introduction point to whiskey.”

“If you look across the entire span of history, it is very difficult for governing bodies or society to stop any kind of behavior. Drinking is the perfect example.”

“People are too clever to stop from doing most of the things they want to do. No matter how much you try to keep something down, vibrant communities can form around this. For instance, LGBTQIA+ community organizers will always find ways around the pressures of a system.”