Archive for the ‘press’ Category

Legal moonshine celebrates our agricultural heritage

September 13th, 2010 1 comment

The Tennessee Municipal League’s bi-monthly magazine Tennessee Town & City had a nice article in today’s edition featuring Billy Kaufman.

The article by Victoria South highlights Cannon County’s cultural heritage and legacy we hope to share with the world through Short Mountain Distillery.

“This is about jobs,” said Kaufman, who is the great grandson of iconic Samsonite Luggage founder Jesse Shwayder. “It’s also about tourism, revenue, and the kind of sustainability we need to preserve our way of life. We want to share our local history with the world, and we want tourism to bring new opportunities for local businesses.”

With Cannon County’s rich agricultural heritage, Short Mountain Farm is revered by old-timers for the quality of its moonshine, made from ice cold spring water, which still flows from three springs on the property. Kaufman is hoping to tap this renewable energy source for the distillery’s operations.

“I had been looking for a way to make farming profitable,” he said. “One of my strongest drives is making farming sustainable, having it make sense again. It’s the best way of life there is, but that doesn’t mean it makes financial sense, as it’s structured now. You have to be incredibly skilled and lucky to make a living.”

Heavy regulations and substantial start up costs of several hundred thousand dollars or more could be a formidable obstacle for legal moonshine distillers. “Just getting through all the red tape and hurdles makes it a community endeavor,” Kaufman explains. “It’s also my commitment to my community.”

As part of that commitment, Kaufman plans to hire locally and use locally grown agricultural products.

“Cannon County is full of qualified hard working farmers, factory workers, industrious people, who are already telling me what they can do,” he said. “It’s a great time to harness this tremendous energy of a community doing something that relates to their values close to where they live.”

An increased interest in Tennessee culture and heritage prompted the state Department of Tourism to launch a tourist attraction dubbed “White Lightning Trail,” where drivers traverse a network of roadways spanning hundreds of miles across nine counties in northeast Tennessee. Along the trail, visitors can travel the same routes where bootleggers in hopped up cars, transported illegal moonshine whiskey, rumored to be the inspiration for NASCAR. As tourists visit the various sites, neighbors along the way might be more than willing to swap a moonshining tale or two.

“If people would be willing to drive a little farther, they could come to the place where the history of moonshine is rich and the living history of moonshine, the people, are still alive,” said Kaufman. “Let me tell you, the stories here are rich. Almost everyone in Cannon County can tell you a great story about the moonshine in this area, whether it be the law enforcement against it, or their family struggle to make a living at a time when there was really no other way to make a living. It’s part of this area’s heritage and goes back much further than you think.”

In this weekend’s Murfreesboro Post, Mike Vinson speaks from personal experience on the rich cultural heritage Short Mountain Distillery celebrates.

Indeed, Short Mountain has a long, rich history for producing moonshine.

Having grown up in the Centertown-Blues Hill area of Warren County, about a 20-minute drive from Short Mountain, I, personally, can attest to the “lore” that connects Short Mountain to the craft of whiskey making.

Without going into needless detail and giving up any names, I’ll just say that clear, homemade, high-proof liquor could be purchased at any of several Short Mountain locations back in the day.

Billy Kaufman talks jobs and tourism with the Smithville Review

August 25th, 2010 No comments

Angie Meadows from the Smithville Review came out and interviewed Billy Kaufman on his Short Mountain farm about bringing jobs and tourism to Cannon County. The article above was clipped from today’s front page.

Voters will ultimately decide in November whether they want to allow a distillery to be built here under a new state law legalizing distilleries. Cannon County was once home to as many as 18 legal distilleries as reported by United States Census data prior to Prohibition.

From water to shine on Short Mountain

August 18th, 2010 No comments

John Whittemore on FOX17Local farmers Billy Kaufman and John Whittemore spoke earlier today with WZTV Fox 17’s John Dunn. Skooter FarmDog even makes a cameo in this news clip.

In November, Cannon County voters will decide whether or not to allow a distillery to be built in the county. To Billy and John, it’s about honoring and preserving our way of life.

Up in the hills of Cannon County, Billy Kaufman hopes to turn water into shine.

“This water here is pure,” says Kaufman next to his mountain spring.

The organic farmer wants to open the Short Mountain Distillery here using old fashioned recipes for moonshine.

“One of the famous quotes for this area is without whiskey and baskets we all would have starved to death,” says Kaufman.

This November, Cannon County voters will have a referendum to decide if a distillery should be built here.

Kaufman promises at least a small number of jobs, and an increase in tourism.

“To me it’s about jobs and preserving our rural lifestyle,” says Billy Kaufman.

Short Mountain Distillery done right

August 18th, 2010 No comments

Billy Kaufman in the newsOne thing the new state law allowing distilleries won’t do is allow just anybody to set up a moonshine still in their backyard.

The Cannon Courier gave readers just a taste of the regulatory red tape Short Mountain Distillery and anyone else must go through before opening our doors to the public.

You can read the full list and links to other state laws that will govern how we will operate as a business at the Cannon Courier. Here’s an excerpt:

1. $300 Application Fee (Non refundable – Must Accompany Application)
2. $1,000.00 Annual License Fee
3. Distillery Application. Downloadable Form AB-0034
4. Questionnaire (Form AB-0009) (each owner, partner or officer)
5. Approval by the local government for the location.
6. Copy of Lease and/or Deed, or other document evidencing possession or right to possess the physical premises or real property for the proposed location.
7. Federal Special Tax Stamp Registration.
8. Copy of all loan contracts.
9. Financial background check of applicant.
10. Credit check from banking/lending institution.

Billy Kaufman talks distillery jobs and tourism for Cannon County

August 17th, 2010 2 comments

Billy Kaufman and Distillery Organization Group’s Jim Massey talk with News Channel 5’s Kim Gebbia about distillery jobs and tourism on the November ballot in Cannon County. You can read the full story at WTVF-TV CBS Nashville.

Billy Kaufman’s property hasn’t seen a drop of grain liquor since a distillery ran here before prohibition. He wants to see it flowing again at his own craft distillery within the next few years.

“My dream is that we employ hundreds if not thousands someday,” said Kaufman.

Supporters say a craft distillery could also bring in tax dollars and tourism to the county. They add it’s a way to keep small farmers afloat.

“Historically distilleries are the most efficient way to turn crops to cash,” says Jim Massey, an advocate for craft distilleries across the state.

Special session called to address distillery referendum

August 9th, 2010 3 comments

Today’s Cannon Courier reports that County Executive Mike Gannon has called a special session of the County Commission for August 28th to address the state’s first distillery referendum. The election commission is currently in the process of validating and certifying the petition signatures we turned in last week.

Cannon County Administrator of Elections Stan Dobson was in the process Monday morning of certifying the signatures on the petition for the referendum, which was presented to him Friday by a group of citizens hoping to start Short Mountain Distillery.

The election office must certify that the petition contains the names of 10 percent or more of the qualified voters of Cannon County, based upon the number of votes cast in the 2008 presidential election, according to state law.

The group turned in over 800 signatures Friday. According to the election office, 554 were needed to hold a referendum.

However, before a referendum can be held, the petition must be received by the Cannon County Commission. Commissioners will not vote on whether the referendum will take place, only that they have received a petition for one which contains the required number of signatures from registered county voters.

If certified, this will be the state’s first distillery referendum under a new law and will allow voters to decide whether they want jobs, tourism and revenue that will come with a new American brand of distilled spirits started right here in Cannon County.