Archive for June, 2012

Fermentation workshop at Short Mountain Distillery

Short Mountain Distillery invites you to learn some of the basics about food and beverage fermentation from fermentation expert and author Sandor Katz! This workshop is one of the first in a series of food and beverage workshops we’ll host throughout the year.

WHAT: Basic food and beverage fermentation workshop with
COST: $15 ($40 if you’d like a copy of Kat’s latest book)
WHEN: July 14, 2012 – 9a.m. – 12p.m. (three hours)
WHERE: Short Mountain Distillery – 119 Mountain Spirits Ln., Woodbury, TN 37190
LIMIT: 15 people (contact John Whittemore to reserve a spot – 615-216-0830)

Katz was recently featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross talking about his latest and most comprehensive book on fermentation called The Art of Fermentation. In 2010, Katz was also recently featured in a five page spread in the New Yorker Magazine.

This basic fermentation workshop is a shortened version of Katz’s multi-day,  hands-on workshops he gives around the world. You’ll learn how some of your favorite foods are actually fermented and how you can prepare and store your own fermented foods such as cheese, beer, chocolate, tea, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, salami, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, yogurt and much more.

Opportunity for leadership at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce

tnchamberToday’s news that the head of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce is out is an opportunity for the state’s business community to choose the kind of leadership that reflects the business values and practices of our state’s very best job creators.

Deb Woolley, president and CEO, has left in accordance with the terms of her contract, effective May 31, according to the chamber. Wayne Scharber, the chamber’s vice president for environment and taxation, will serve as interim president amid the search for a more permanent replacement.

“We are going to build on the Tennessee Chamber’s 100-year track record of success, with new programs and fresh ideas on how better to serve Tennessee businesses and industries,” Bill Ozier, chairman of the chamber’s board, said in a statement.

In May of last year, Chamber leadership under President Deb Woolley came into question by state business leaders in multiple press releases from members like Alcoa, Nissan, FedEx, Comcast, AT&T, Embraer, KPMG, and UnitedHealth. The questions followed the Chamber’s promotion of HB600, a bill championed by back-benched politicians and lobbyists seeking to stop cities and municipalities from implementing the kind of nondiscrimination policies that separate the nation’s very best businesses from the mediocre. The bill embarrassed the state with national news portraying the bill and those promoting it for exactly what they are.

As the Chamber seeks the kind of leadership our state deserves, I hope it considers the important questions that were asked by business leaders, including Short Mountain Distillery in an open letter published in May 2011:

My concern is how the very best brands and job creating members were represented by the Chamber. What assurances do other businesses have that Chamber leadership will adequately represent the values of its best members? What can the Chamber do to ensure the values of the Chamber’s most valued brands wont be co-opted by personal political agendas causing members to issue embarrassing press releases to create distance from Chamber mistakes?

Today’s news hopefully begins answering these questions. Tennessee’s business community deserves leadership that lifts our state up as an example, not one that embarrasses our Governor and our state’s best business leaders with the values of our very worst politicians.

The spirit run

spirit run

This is the good stuff. It takes days to get here, and the final hours can drag on for nearly half a day as the spirit slowly trickles from the still.

The spirit run takes time, and it takes patience. It takes a little choreography and then it takes waiting for time to do its thing. You don’t always know what you’re going to get, but you can have an idea from the taste of the beer before it’s reborn in the heat of a separate stripping run.

It’s an amazing ancient craft full of deep archetypal processes for those mesmerized by the alchemy of it all. Like most ancient crafts that capture the imaginations of the passionate, there are some basic steps decorated with secrets, some shared in fellowship and some unlocked and seared into memory through necessary failure. Every drop is a chapter. Every bottle is a story.

A fortunate problem

Moonshine rations

That’s probably the best way to look at it, and it’s certainly how our customers thankfully view it. The idea of selling out of Moonshine two or three times a week is still an unsettling feeling. Last week, we had to implement Moonshine rations (one bottle per customer) at the Stillhouse Store until we make a bigger release into stores. Our first shipment sold out so fast our distributor decided to wait until we’ve filled a massive order before another shipment.

Most of the thousands of visitors we’ve had since opening in April have a strong connection to Moonshine. We’ve got a great team making a great product and a wonderful brand that tells a story that belongs to many families in Tennessee.

Nothing beats seeing hard work so appreciated in so many different ways. Lately, it’s seeing how other people use our product, from co-branded cookies and cake to candies. Our Moonshine is showing up on menus. We even saw our product recently used in a funeral of a very dear friend and huge fan of our authentic Tennessee Moonshine. It’s been nothing short of amazing to feel such a deep and powerful connection with customers.

I haven’t submitted our product to contests yet, but I’m so proud to see it next to the hard work of other new Tennessee brands now emerging that share our state’s rich whiskey making heritage with the world. There are big things on the horizon for whiskey lovers in Tennessee thanks to the energy and vision of some truly remarkable people who I look forward to working with more and more.