Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

Tennessee Back Roads, Grits & Moonshine Tour

Sometimes it’s good to leave the driving to someone that knows all the back roads when searching for Tennessee’s hidden treasures. That’s the idea behind a new bus tour that will soon bring visitors on a day trip through Cannon County!

The bus tour is a joint project between folks at the Rutherford and Cannon County Chambers of Commerce eager to share a slice of our history and heritage with the world.

The day long bus tour takes visitors to Short Mountain Distillery to see how authentic Tennessee Moonshine is made on a 300 acre working farm. The distillery uses traditional processes, organically grown corn that’s stone-milled on site and water from a natural cave spring. Visitors will then see how the community once relied on the power of the Stones River to mill grains at the historic Readyville Mill. Lunch will be provided by the Blue Porch @ the Arts Center where visitors can learn how local folk crafts of basket and chair making kept families fed during the Great Depression. The day will wrap up with antique shopping on the square in Woodbury, TN.

At each stop our guests will receive complimentary gifts to go along with the warm smiles and hospitality you could only find on a day’s adventures through rural America.

This tour is not for individuals, but if you are interested in taking this tour with a pre-formed group of friends, co-workers or civic groups who already have motor coach service, contact the Rutherford County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Barbara Wolke at (615) 278-2327 or visit Tickets are $39 per person and includes lunch and gifts. We look forward to seeing you in Cannon County!

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.

Spring planting 2012 with 12 teams of mules – April 14

Video from our Spring Planting 2011 at Short Mountain Distillery.

Saturday morning April 14 starting around 10, bring the family and a couple of lawn chairs out to the distillery to watch us disc our organic corn fields with 12 mule teams from the Middle Tennessee Muleskinner’s Association.

We had so much fun discing the fields last Spring with mules that we decided to do it again this year. It might take a little longer to get done, but every thing about it just feels right to us. See y’all Saturday!

Celebrating community values in business

January 25th, 2012 No comments

Short Mountain Distillery President and CEO Billy Kaufman addresses the local Woodbury Chamber of Commerce at their annual dinner on the topic of celebrating community values in small business.

Billy talked about how our corporate philosophy, the Golden Rule, guides us to do right by our neighbors by keeping business as local as possible, from the corn we use to our skilled labor and manufacturing equipment. Billy also talked with local business leaders about the opportunity before us to share our community’s values with a world of tourists hungry to reconnect with America.

Where moonshine is born

Tennessee moonshine

John Whittemore got the corn cultivated on what was likely the hottest day we’ve had so far. This is where our moonshine and whiskey are born, just like it has been on Short Mountain for well over 100 years.

Integrating a distillery into sustainable permaculture

December 17th, 2010 1 comment

Fermentation expert and Cannon County resident Sandor Katz has been working on the farm for some time introducing the use of organic composts and compost teas to our agricultural processes. It’s one of the many sustainable agricultural values future visitors will experience at Short Mountain Distillery.

Sandor was recently featured in the November 22 edition of The New Yorker magazine for his work advancing a live-culture food revolution. As the article notes, Sandor’s two books – “Wild Fermentation” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved” are must reads for a new generation of underground food activists.

We are very fortunate to have Sandor working with us as we begin integrating centuries old distilling practices with the 300 acre farm.

IT’S ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY: Last week, Sandor whipped up a big brew of compost tea that Billy and John sprayed on the newly plowed organic corn field. The practice will be repeated regularly and replace an unsustainable and costly practice of applying chemical fertilizer to the farm environment.

The processes Sandor is putting in place now will eventually transform some of Short Mountain Distillery’s grain product into an environmentally safe fertilizer. The process is amazing to watch and demonstrates a genuine bottom-up level of care for the life of the farm and quality of spirits we will produce.

Besides whiskey and moonshine, the process of distillation creates a usable grain product that is perfect for farm life. The grain mash from the distillery can be consumed by farm animals as well as crops. The distillery will produce tons of grain product annually.

HOW IT’S DONE: To get the grain into a consumable product for crops, the grain will first be fed to livestock whose manure will be composted with other organic material.

Next, the manure and other organic materials and allowed to compost. This process requires turning the pile so the composting kills pathogens but not overheat and kill the microbes.

Once the compost process is complete, a portion then goes into a large “tea bag” and is left to aerate in a large cistern of water while the rest is used as a soil amendment. The resulting frothy tea, teaming with cultivated microbes, are sprayed onto the field where they continue digesting organic matter into usable nutrition for crops.

The role of distilleries in our rural way of life

September 3rd, 2010 No comments

Gabby's apple press

The Sanbourns told us we were welcome to pick as many apples as we wanted from their small Short Mountain orchard.

Like most homeowners, the Sanbourns grow them organically and couldn’t possibly eat everything their orchard produces. Mrs. Sanbourn told us about the only thing appreciating them lately were the deer, so she was happy to see us put them to use.

After a couple of hours of picking we ended up with about seven bushels of apples. They were a mix of Yellow Delicious and a hybrid they called “Johnny” Delicious. If we had time, we probably would have gotten more, but we had to meet up with Gabby by 2 p.m. if we wanted to use his apple press.

In the old days, this is how cider and distilled brandy was made. The process was often a collective effort by locals that extended the life of fruit well into the winter, warming the farmer, making holiday cheer and soothing mild winter ailments.

In the late 1800s, residents throughout Cannon County would bring their apples to Jim Jamerson who ran a legal distillery near Burt. “Jimerson” would then turn the collected apples into brandy. Jamerson was just one of several enterprising distillers in Cannon County who created sustaining value for the community’s rural way of life. It was an American way of life that made friends out of neighbors and let nothing go to waste.

Distilleries have always been a part of American culture. Nearly every single one of our founding fathers distilled spirits, and one of the first taxes they levied on the American people to pay for war and to build our nation was the Whiskey Tax.

You don’t have to look too far back into Tennessee’s history to understand the role distilleries played in making farms successful and building our great state.

In 1840 the U.S. Census reported that Cannon County alone had 18 distilleries. Distilling spirits was a necessary way to turn grain into a medicinal and dietary staple of rural family life.

In an 1874 letter to Tennessee’s Secretary of Agriculture J.B. Killebrew, Robertson County attorney William Moore described how distilleries in his county kept local farms profitable.

The immense amount of grain required in the manufacture of the article has stimulated the farming community to produce more corn, there being an active and steady demand for it at the highest and most remunerative prices. Seven hundred and fifty bushels of grain are being daily consumed, (which would be forty-five thousand barrels annually). This will give some idea of the immense business. The increasing demands for grain have absorbed the entire surplus of corn in the county, and have compelled our distillers to rely in a great degree upon the St. Louis and other foreign markets, including the productions of the rich Wabash Valley.

Since 1900, Cannon County’s population has gained just a few hundred people. In many ways, we still embrace an agrarian lifestyle. In his 1874 report The Resources of Tennesseee, Sec. Killebrew had this general observation of the people of Cannon County.

The citizens are industrious and energetic, but not enterprising. They prefer the old way because they believe it to be the sure way. They are greatly attached to the county, and emigration to other states is very rare. They would like to have additions to their population, though labor is sufficiently abundant and cheap. The county is free from debt, and jury tickets are at par. Infractions of the law are not common. Ease, peace and plenty characterize the county. Economy is the ruling trait of the citizens, and they mingle with their labors many of the pleasures of life.

Life in Cannon County has strayed little from that quaint description from 136 years ago. About the only noticeable exceptions are jobs, revenue and the quality of life both sustain.

The opportunity we have to preserve our way of life is tucked between our rolling hills and pages of history’s wisdom. It comes in bushels of corn, rye, sorghum, and maybe even apples, all grown here for over 100 years. And with your support in November, our values and our heritage can be our most treasured export to the world.

Ice cold spring water flows from Short Mountain

August 9th, 2010 No comments

One of the reasons Short Mountain was well known for its moonshine is its ice cold spring water. Many old-timers tell us the colder the spring water, the faster the still condensed its spirits. They also tell us speed was an important factor when trying to out run the law.

Little Short Mountain spring #1On the 300+ acre Kaufman farm on the North West side of Little Short Mountain, there are three springs putting out water so cold you can’t keep your hands in it too long, and they flow just as steady in the hottest days of summer as they do any other time.  One of the springs, Spring #1, comes from a small cave that has evidence of being used as a source of drinking water at one time.

You can see an old rock wall had once created a pool area right at the mouth of the cave. Nearby, two old concrete support structures indicate a large cistern had once sat here creating pressure to send the water to a nearby location or to store it for using in an old whiskey still. We’re not sure which it is and are looking for old stories or photos showing what this might have been used for.

Little Short Mountain spring #3The use of these springs will introduce a renewable energy source to the Short Mountain Distillery operations. By capturing the ice cold water, the distillery will save power by not having to refrigerate the water supply used to condense the spirits. This water will then travel through a cooling tower and into a nice pond before returning back into its natural environment.

You can view the springs on this interactive map that will eventually include video and a look at where we’d like to locate the distillery.