Behind the Brand: Moonshine Mfg.
Stoked Ride Shop team rider, Brandon Des Jarlais, riding one out into the sunset.
|Based||North Bonneville, WA|
|Disciplines||Downhill/Freeride, Dancing/Freestyle, Cruising/Commuting|
It’s often uncommon to find a brand in skateboarding that lives up to its namesake in such a way that Moonshine Mfg. does. Born on the factory floor of a shop otherwise used for manufacturing kite and wake boards, the founders quite literally started moonlighting in an effort to get one of the most prominent new brands in longboarding off the ground.
Ultimately, it was a combination of passion and intuition that led the factory workers of Slingshot Sports to stay at the shop long after their work day of constructing boards for the water to focus on crafting boards for the streets. Using the same tactics and machines, they began with minimalistic intentions of trying to create functional boards to enjoy for themselves. In the ensuing period of trial and error, experienced riders took to the hills on the new wood and a common consensus was reached: they were onto something.
Scenes from the manufacturing end of the operation in The Distillery.
However, Moonshine’s 2014 inception proved to be a time when the longboarding market was thoroughly saturated with brands offering an expansive variety of shapes and sizes of boards and countless gimmicks. As such, the crew was faced with two major challenges to get their effort off the ground: gaining credibility and finding differentiation in the overcrowded marketplace.
Moonshine's signature CNC wheel wells are for fitting the thickness of Venom Magnums.
Starting from the ground up, the effort to establish a sense of credibility in the industry began with the strategy to build up a strong product line before anything else. To support this line, established riders including Max Watson and Brandon Des Jarlais joined the team to provide feedback and a stamp of approval. In terms of finding differentiation however, the efforts were less calculated. As the story goes, it took a trip to Surf Expo one year for the creators to realize the value that their waterproof decks meant to the industry.
What seemed like an afterthought to the manufacturers who were already using the technology for Slingshot’s water sport board was soon realized to be an answer to the prayers of longboarders affected by boards that would delaminate from the effects of water damage. To that end, other features like their urethane truck mounts would be uncovered as a strong measure of differentiation with their unique capabilities to dampen vibrations unlike other available truck mounts. Adding credibility and differentiation, these factors helped Moonshine assert that their boards were a legitimate fixture in the longboarding world, rather than a passing gimmick destined to fade away.
One look up and down the noses and tails of these boards shows just how diverse the Moonshine lineup is.
With their reputation in good standing, Moonshine soon went on to be picked up by several shops considered to be among the most “core” in the industry and thus repealed their status as the new kids on the block. Their success to this point is something that Trullinger credits to staying true to the brand’s original intentions. As one of the key examples of how they have maintained this, the style of the brand has remained cohesive to the birth of the name “Moonshine,” to the boards created on the floor of “The Distillery,” to the hills where riders take models like the Elixir or the Rum Runner out for a spin. As Trullinger put it,
“We made an effort even before we made our first graphic to create a brand style guide and decide how we were going to treat our brand and move forward with it and be authentic to ourselves. The last thing I think the sate market needs is a brand copying other skate brands.”
Trying to build a quiver? Might as well start with a whole stack of boards at once.
Going forward, Moonshine looks forward to retaining their established position in the industry, though not through aggressively trying to force new breakthroughs or product offerings at every turn. Instead, Trullinger claims he wants to let the skate market come to them. At this, he added, “We’re going to let the market speak to us. If we think there’s a board or a shape or a new technology we want to test, we’re going to test it and just like from day one we’re going to try to prefect it and see if there’s a place for it in the market and then release it.”
Perfect for all the dancers out there, the Moonshine Mfg. Hoedown gives you plenty of room to play with.
According to this plan, the team intends to release at least one new shape in the next year and let the company grow organically. Careful not to flood the market with more than necessary, the work that Moonshine has put in to this point has created a sense of reliability for customers that connotes the brand with superior quality. As a testament to their certainty in the credibility of the product, their commitment to customer service will continue to be supported through their 100 Proof Performance Guarantee.
Through this initiative, any customer of any Moonshine board is able to exchange their board within 30 days of purchase if they feel like it is a poor fit - no questions asked. This, in addition to a generously forgiving warranty policy, gives consumers little reason not to give a selection from Moonshine Mfg. a shot. With the word and track record of one of the most influential new longboarding companies out right now, odds are their craftsmanship and performance will not disappoint.