September 13, 2023

Tales from the Trail: Bayou Terrebonne Distillers


How does a whiskey distillery land on a list of crawfish joints? By creating the official Bayou Country Crawfish Trail cocktail, that’s how. It helps if you’re a sucker for interesting family histories and craft whiskey, an affinity I’ve got a hunch some of our visitors probably share.

Owner of Bayou Terrebonne Distillers Noah Lirette comes from a legacy of distillers—though historically, they aren’t so above-board. Noah’s grandmother, Lily Lirette, was a moonshiner, that’s how this whole thing started. Her copper pot still was passed down to his godfather, and they started using it after sitting it up for almost 100 years.

In addition to making liquor during the Prohibition years, Lily is remembered as Houma’s first Mardi Gras queen. “We say she’s a queen and an outlaw,” said Lirette. Family stories about Lily abound, and she is often remembered peeling snap peas with a cigarette mostly burned to ashes dangling from her lips. “She would hide moonshine under the card table, because she and her sisters would play cards, and when the Sheriff would come lookin’ for the booze, he would look everywhere else but underneath the card table, because there’s a bunch of women sitting down,” said Lirette. Legend goes that local revenuers would turn a blind eye to her operation because her moonshine was “too damn good.”

The name Bayou Terrebonne Distillers comes not only from the current location in the 1921 cypress-framed Blum & Bergeron Dried Shrimp warehouse on the Bayou, but because Lily made her moonshine further up Bayou Terrebonne, as well. “We have an old-time story,” Lirette said. “Our purpose is to preserve our family tradition along with the culture and beauty of the bayou region and preserving this old building kind of fits squarely into that.”

Another homage to Lily’s original illegal enterprise is the name of the distillery’s current primary product: a clear whiskey made with corn grown in Alexandria called Contraband Whiskey, which is used in the Crawfish Trail’s signature cocktail. “Le Mon Temps,” or “me time” is served in a tall glass with lemonade, mint syrup, and cherry syrup; rounding out into a delightfully tart, sweet and smooth refresher after a day of relishing in local spices.

The Bayou Country Crawfish Trail lays out a culinary road map of the 40+ establishments in the area that offer the delectable crustacean. Trail stops range from take-out seafood markets and drive-thru boil houses to family-friendly Cajun restaurants with lots of character. Ready to hit the Trail? Explore Houma has packaged up everything you’ll need. The downloadable Trail Guide includes a map and listings of all Trail locations, as well as a print-at-home tracker for checking off all the delicious places you’ll visit!

Visit Bayou Terrebonne Distillers today or visit any other stop along our Bayou Country Crawfish Trail!


Bayou Terrebonne Distillers

8043 Main Street | Houma, Louisiana 70360

(985) 790-7722 |

Provided by Alexandra Kennon