Archive for the ‘progress’ Category

Blogging, technology and self-fulfillment

December 29th, 2013 No comments

ascii me

I like to think I’m bi-lingual. If you’re reading this, one language is obvious, and the other is not. The one that’s not is HTML.

Like most people in 1990, I was using Unix commands to dig around on wide open gopher servers of the few universities that were online. I would “finger” active users and saw profiles that used ASCII text to create an image.

ASCII graphics weren’t new, but for a while it was as close as computers could get to delivering an image. At 1200 bps, ASCII was all you were going to get. What was new to me was live interaction with remote users through a computer hooked up to the telephone line.

If we could interact live behind ones and zeros online, it was a matter of time before it was something more real like audio and video. When it comes down to it, pretty much everything is data. That epiphany might sound like a no-brainer now, but to this day this idea leaves wide open many possibilities of how we can share things or experiences in the near future. The only things limiting our vision of the future back then was the size and power of computers.

This new space resonated with a part of me that yearned to share, explore, connect, document, learn, and grow. I felt a real calling. Here was another way to have an impact, a chance to connect with others, and most importantly a way to share my own story in a space where fear and judgement was less of a match for the power of truth and reason in a new public space.

head deskI went to college and then totally failed at computer science. I changed my major and then took time off school hitchhiking 1,500 miles across Canada and Alaska. I needed to figure some things out.

It turned out, some computer science professors didn’t share my vision of what was coming and thought it was important I learn Pascal which I’m guessing is the Latin of computer programming these days. “Computers do machine things. It’s not some party phone line of yapping teenagers figuring themselves out,” said 1992.

I had met what would become a common road block over the next 20 years, but I eventually returned to school more determined to change the world. That’s when Netscape happened. I quickly taught myself HTML, stuck a message in a bottle and got invited to work changing the world in Washington, D.C.

When I started my blog 14 years ago today, there were only 9.5 million websites in existence. We were quite literally at the beginning of a new world. There are almost 2 billion today. Sites like Facebook now capitalize on that very early yearning I experienced. The empowerment the web has given many people like myself has changed the politics of our country. Most of my life opportunities have flowed through the language of HTML, including meeting my husband.

The past 14 years have taught me that self knowledge plus new technologies equals revolution. Maybe one day we’ll learn the language of reality and write trees, air and mountains, remotely molecularize elements, program germination, or reimage the output of a dreaming brain. But without a strong sense of self, revolution can go very wrong in that world to come. One lesson I’ve learned is there is another language one should master in preparation for any revolution. It’s the language of being the fullest, most actualized human you can be. You’ll never know what is really possible without that.

Short Mountain Shine now in East Tennessee stores

October 6th, 2012 1 comment

Short Mountain Trucker’s Pride corn stands 14 feet tall

August 16th, 2012 1 comment

Jimmy Simpson told us early this Spring to wait on planting. “Knee high by July,” he said. “As long as we got it in by June 15, we’ll be fine.”

We were getting worried we were planting our organic corn late this year after seeing our neighbor’s corn knee high by June.

We’re trying not to count our ears before they’re harvested, but we’re pretty darn proud of our 14 feet tall organic open pollinated Trucker’s Pride corn. Not everyone is so lucky this year, so we’re counting our blessings instead. We have to admit it’s a combination of a little luck and old-timer’s wisdom.

To be perfectly honest with you, it’s actually our second planting this year in the same field after we discovered the first attempt in late May never put a single seed in the ground.

We found that out the hard way, but it made us miss the drought conditions that destroyed most of Tennessee’s corn crops. Better late than never, especially when you’re making moonshine. It also allowed us to use seed corn Jimmy had personally hand-selected and shelled for next year. His mules didn’t seem to mind the extra work either.

Short Mountain Shine now in Middle Tennessee stores

July 18th, 2012 7 comments

It’s official! You can now buy a bottle of our 105 Proof Authentic Tennessee moonshine in stores across Middle Tennessee.

It’s quite a site to see our county’s history and heritage in a bottle on a store shelf, and we are mighty grateful to all the support we’ve gotten from thousands of you who have visited our distillery since we opened in March.

We also want to thank all the retail store owners and their family and friends who came out to our official Middle Tennessee launch party last night at City House. The crowd was about twice what we expected, but Peg Leg Porker Pitmaster Carey Bringle kept everyone delightfully stuffed with a whole pig. The Jake Leg Stompers brought the Bluegrass while the DrinkMusicCity crew kept drinks flowing with four new Moonshine cocktail recipes we’ll share with you in a couple of days.

Here are a few stores that carry Short Mountain Shine in the Middle Tennessee region. Follow us on Facebook for future launch parties in Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga!

Stones River Total Beverage Smyrna’s Divine Wine & Spirits Bill’s Package (Manchester) Bubba’s Wine & Liquors
Celebration Liquors Center Point Liquors Champion Discount Cheers Wine & Liquor (Gordonsville)
Cheers Wine & Liquor (Lebanon) Sinker’s Wine & Spirits CNG Wine & Spirits Del Rio Wine & Spirits
Discount Liquor & Wine (Melrose) Fuzzy Duck Liquors Red Dog Wine & Spirits Hudson’s Wine & Liquor
Jackson’s Bar & Bistro LaVergne Beverage Depot TLC Liquors & Wine Liquor World (Nashville)
Major Discount Liquors Murfreesboro City Limits Murfreesboro Wine & Spirits Oasis Package Store
Old Hickory Wine Parkway Wine & Spirits Short Mountain Distillery Metropolitan Wine & Spirits
City House Stones River Liquors Interstate Liquors Spirits of Nissan Drive
Meadows Liquor Midstate Wine & Spirits Oak Liquor Store Old Fort Liquor & Wine
Longhorn Liquors 96 Liquor & Wine Joe’s Liquor University Package Shop
Gordonsville Discount Liquors Boro Liquors Center Point Liquors Southern Spirits Discount
Social Delberts Wine & Spirits Crossroads Wine & Spirits Chill Wine & Spirits
Favorite Liquors Carroll Street Liquor Store Wine Chap All American Wine & Spirits
Smyrna Liquors Jefferson Wine & Liquor Woodland Wine Merchants Parkway Package
Riverbend Package Store Riverbend Wine & Spirits Liquor Locker J. Barleycorn’s Wine & Spirits
North Jackson Wine & Spirits Nashville Daily Spirits Mulligan’s Wine & Spirits Whiskey Bent Saloon
Sango Wine & Spirits Mr. Whiskers Grace’s Plaza Wine & Spirits Riverstone Wine & Spirits
Liquor Locker Frugal Macdoogal Queen City Liquors Play Dance Bar
Gaylord Opryland Hotel Hillsboro Village Wine & Spirits Sinker’s Wine & Spirits Bluegrass Beverages

Trucker’s Pride – organic open pollinated corn

Our Moonshiners tell us Trucker’s Pride is about as good as it gets when looking for a variety of corn to make shine, but it’s a little hard to come by, so we’re making our own.

In this video, Short Mountain Distillery’s John Whittemore talks about the choices we make in farming practices. Special thanks to Jeff Schuler for shooting and sharing this video.

Moonshine heritage of Cannon County Tennessee

Making moonshine is still illegal without the proper licenses and nod to the revenuers, but scenes like this are certainly more rare than they used to be.

That’s Pharis Macon Conley on the left kneeling behind several gallons of confiscated moonshine with a fellow Cannon County deputy. Conley severed three terms as Sheriff of Cannon County from 1948-1954 and saw his share of moonshine busts.

Fast-foward … (Moonshine: The Next Generation, Short Mountain Distillery Creating Legal Beverage):

The corn liquor it produces is not just any moonshine, but the moonshine your grandparents may have drunk. This is because Short Mountain employs three of the best moonshiners this area has to offer: Ricky Estes, Jimmy Simpson and Ronald Lawson. The three of them have given up their days of illegal wildcatting. Judging by the smile on Lawson’s face (who was on the property the day of our visit), it seems to be working out well for them. Along with head distiller Josh Smotherman, they make a quality product that meets all legal requirements. Now that’s a brand new angle; the revenuers like the moonshiners.

… to today (Moonshine Monday: Short Mountain Distillery)

Kaufman says, “When we opened, we already had 150 years of distilling experience thanks to these three guys.” Where Smotherman has access to all the technology that he needs for large-batch production, the moonshiners track the progress of the steam through the pipes as the alcohol boils off and then condenses by feeling the temperature of the copper pipes, listening to the hiss of the vortex in the pot still and watching the bubbles in the Carlo Rossi jugs they use to trap their lovely corn likker as it drips out of the outlet of the still.

Short Mountain Distillery announces Grand Opening

March 9th, 2012 1 comment

Watch the video to see Billy Kaufman announce our Grand Opening April 21, 2012. We are still having our March 23 and 24 soft opening for friends and neighbors where you can enjoy a short tour and some bluegrass music, eat some BBQ, meet the moonshiners and taste and purchase our authentic Tennessee Moonshine, but demand for the first bottles has been so overwhelming we know we won’t have enough by March 23.

600 specially signed bottles from our first batch are being set aside for everyone who requested one. At this point, we can no longer reserve any more of these specially signed bottles. You can begin purchasing them at the Still House Store beginning March 23. Just give our clerk your name if you are on the list. Follow us on Facebook to see announcements on availability, or come out and see us April 21.

We will be open Fridays and Saturdays until our grand opening April 21 when we will then operate normal business hours of Tuesday through Saturday 9am – 4pm. We look forward to seeing you!

New chapter in the history of Tennessee whiskey making

February 21st, 2012 1 comment

A new chapter began yesterday in the story of Tennessee’s whiskey making heritage when three living legends of moonshine making signed a deal with Short Mountain Distillery.

Jimmy Simpson, Ricky Estes and Ronald Lawson (pictured left to right) all grew up in Cannon County around Short Mountain where some families on hard times relied on illicit moonshine to make ends meet. It’s a story of struggle, honor, and perseverance, and it’s the story of America.

A change in state law created an opportunity for their treasured craft to finally come out in the open. The three men bring with them over 100 years of history and backwoods whiskey making experience to our distillery.

Here’s an excerpt from a story by local CBS television affiliate News Channel 5 (WTVF). Check back for links to local newspaper articles as they post.

“It’s kind of a dream come true. I don’t think that any of us ever realized we would be making moonshine legally,” said Simpson.

They are using the same locally grown ingredients and the same method but this time, following the law.

“We know what we are doing. I might not talk very well, but I know how to make moonshine,” said Estes.

“It’s really something worth preserving,” said Short Mountain founder, Billy Kaufman.

Kaufman built the distillery to save what he calls a dying art and a lost piece of the area’s heritage.

“They might be lost in another 10 to 20 years and no one knows how to do these things again,” said Kaufman.

Short Mountain Distillery will open to the public March 23. Be sure to see this story in the Murfreesboro Post, Smithville Review and Cannon Courier:

Short Mountain Distillery signs with Tennessee distributors

January 26th, 2012 3 comments

We got word from the federal government that our first product label was approved. It’s called pretty much what it’s been called for decades: Short Mountain Shine, a 105 proof authentic Tennessee Moonshine made from a family recipe handed down for generations.

As of yesterday’s approval by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, visitors to our distillery in Cannon County will be able to have a taste and purchase a bottle at our distillery store. We plan on a soft opening for friends and neighbors March 23.

Customers will also be able to purchase our Shine in stores across the state of Tennessee under new distribution deals signed this week with Best Brands (Nashville), Athens (Chattanooga), Star (Memphis) and Knoxville Beverage (Knoxville). Stores throughout the Nashville region (36 counties) will receive our product first.

The Golden Rule coin

January 21st, 2012 1 comment

Sacha and Billy open one of the boxes of Golden Rule coins.

Billy’s great grandfather, Jesse Shwayder, never missed an opportunity to attribute the success of the iconic American brand Samsonite to the Golden Rule. He even went out of his way to communicate this deeply held philosophy in a very special way as mentioned in this TIME magazine article from 1965.

The world’s largest manufacturer of luggage is named after the Bible’s powerful Samson. Its president has a name to match: King David. The firm’s official corporate philosophy is the Bible’s Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”* All company officers and salesmen carry a marble encircled by a gold band on which the Golden Rule is printed, take it out for inspiration when they have a business decision to make.

This philosophical approach — wedded to some pragmatic business practices—has paid off handsomely for Denver’s Samsonite Corp. The firm now accounts for more than a quarter of all U.S. luggage sold, and its sales last year reached a record $55.9 million. Last week, as orders from vacation-bound Americans flooded into Denver, Samsonite raised its 1965 sales estimate from $60 million to $64 million.

Last week, a package arrived with a very special coin inside that will come with every bottle of our authentic Tennessee Moonshine, Short Mountain Shine. They’re Golden Rule coins bearing the moon and the stars, and we hope they shine a little light into your world.