Appalachia ain’t just moonshine anymore

R Street's Jarrett Dieterle writes about his recent road trip through Appalachia:

It’s not often one can take several weeks off, pile into a car, and hit the open road without any significant responsibilities piling up (or email inboxes overflowing). I was able to do just that in January, before starting my new think tank gig. The result was a two-week road trip — along with my wife — through modern-day Appalachia.

Starting in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and going as far south as Asheville, North Carolina, we discovered an upstart “New Appalachian economy” based loosely around agri-business, food, and booze. Although the region’s economic fortunes have declined alongside that of the coal industry, a small group of entrepreneurial chefs, distillers and brewers are attempting to revive the region by opening up locally sourced, food-focused businesses. In particular, the impressive and nuanced booze offerings the modern-day Blue Ridge region has to offer deserve greater attention...

Read more at: http://www.rstreet.org/op-ed/appalachia-aint-just-moonshine-anymore/