Archive for the ‘Short Mountain Distillery’ Category

Short Mountain Distillery: celebrating a year of success

March 23rd, 2013 2 comments

single bottle barrels

Today marks the one year anniversary of Short Mountain Distillery opening its doors to the public and three years since the hard work began to make this day possible.

It was an exciting three years serving an extraordinary team as Chief Operating Officer during this time. I could not have written the business plan or built a distillery around making moonshine without the help of Cannon County voters in 2010. Building a heritage brand image around local moonshine culture would have never been a reality beyond the law change without the commitment and support of Billy Kaufman and his brothers Ben and David.

I recently left the distillery in February to pursue a project I hope helps save the planet, but I thought it was important to take this opportunity to highlight some of the first year successes we achieved as a team. The captioned slideshow below really helps tell this story using hundreds of photos I took. Here’s to many more years of making our whiskey heritage shine to the world from Woodbury, Tennessee!

Short Mountain Distillery’s first year by the numbers:

  • we created several local jobs and saw over 15,000 visitors at the distillery in Cannon County
  • we launched two products: Short Mountain Shine and Short Mountain Apple Pie
  • we sold over 2,500 cases of moonshine now available in stores across the state of Tennessee
  • Short Mountain Shine (105 proof authentic Tennessee Moonshine) won the Gold Medal in the International Review of Spirits Award from the Beverage Testing Institute
  • we appeared in over 100 media pieces, including a three-part Discovery Channel mini-series How Booze Built America
  • we surpassed every industry consultant’s benchmark for success and helped ignite an American moonshine revival

Living green: moonshine made the old timey way

February 6th, 2013 No comments

This recently aired WCTE Living Green segment was filmed last summer and shows you how we make our award winning 105 proof authentic Tennessee moonshine on Short Mountain the old timey way.

The Tennessean has a nice story on the five courses of amazing Southern cuisine from Loveless Cafe that our moonshine will be paired with at Manhattan’s prestigious James Beard House this Valentine’s Day.

Discovery Channel: How Booze Built America

September 8th, 2012 No comments

A three part mini series called How Booze Built America will air in a couple weeks on the Discovery Channel and features several folks and locations from the Middle Tennessee area. It’s hosted by Mike Rowe of the popular show Dirty Jobs.

Short Mountain Distillery was the site of a full day of filming back in June. Our upcoming release of Short Mountain Apple Pie Moonshine may or may not make an appearance, but I’m sure the effects will. Mike sat with our three living legends of moonshine at the end of a long day of filming and made sure close to a gallon of it got gone.

Several local Civil War reenactors from the Armies of Tennessee and Dr. Kristofer Ray of APSU will also help add some historic context to the story.

filming mashThe role booze had in building our country is as evident in today’s recovery from the worst economic recession in American history as it was in our rebellious beginning. As I write some big checks to the federal government on the production and sale of our moonshine, I’m reminded of the role the Whiskey Tax played in paying for America’s Revolutionary War. I’m also reminded how down right pleasant the IRS is these days compared to our founding father George Washington who sent soldiers to make sure the taxes were paid… and how that very decision by our government helped create the illicit heritage of backwoods moonshine production we are only now beginning to revive.

In a couple of weeks, this is the story America will learn again thanks to the awesomeness that is Mike Rowe. Once the promos are posted, I’ll share them here. Several TV guide listings across the country have the first episode appearing at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, but local media reports Sept. 18. There is no information on the Discovery Channel website yet. I’ll post correct times once they are available.

UPDATE 9-12-11: A few more details appear in a newly posted “exclusive” from TV Guide. Discovery’s new three-part series How Booze Built America premiers on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 10/9c.

Discovery Channel issued the following release later this afternoon: Mike Rowe Puts On His Thinking Cap (and Drinking Shoes) in Discovery’s New Three Part Series HOW BOOZE BUILT AMERICA

In HOW BOOZE BUILT AMERICA, Mike Rowe will crisscross the country, stiff drink in hand and beer goggles firmly strapped on, to take an in depth and slightly unusual look at the story of our nation.  Between reenactments of actual historical events, and current day interviews with historians and experts, Rowe will make the case that alcohol is clearly one of the key ingredients that formed our culture and our country.

UPDATE 9-13-12: We posted the promo (above)

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.

Spreading the Gospel of the Shine

February 2nd, 2012 No comments

shine020112 shiner020112 shinier020112

They’re pink, blue and white and represent a good year’s worth of ignoring television and Twitter.

This isn’t all of the permits required before we can legally sell our authentic Tennessee Moonshine, but combined with the others they ought to get us from Memphis to Bristol without too much worry about going to prison. Now if we can keep the ’51 Chevy pickup under 70MPH as we travel the state, we should be fine.

God Bless America, and God Bless the Shine.

A sneak peek at Short Mountain Shine

January 27th, 2012 No comments


Yesterday, I showed you a glimpse of our federally approved label for Short Mountain Shine along with the news that we signed distribution deals with all four regions of the state of Tennessee.

I thought I’d throw this photo of the bottle out there after a failed attempt yesterday to photograph the bottle for an upcoming tourism pamphlet. This isn’t an image we’d use, but it showed just enough to tease, and I’m a teaser. You can tell we used a sample label sent to us by our printer.

You’ll be able to taste a sample and purchase a bottle at our distillery on Short Mountain in Woodbury, TN once we open in late March. Shortly after that, it will be in stores throughout Middle Tennessee’s 36 county distribution region.

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s already famous. Most old-timers in Middle Tennessee know something about it, and it was sung about by Uncle Dave Macon on the October 1939 NBC television debut of the Grand Ole Opry. Who knows? Maybe one day the bottle will make a special appearance on one of country music’s biggest nights.

Short Mountain Shine is a respectable 105 proof authentic Tennessee Moonshine made from a family recipe handed down for generations. As Billy likes to say, “It’s the best moonshine ever made, made even better.”

Photo shoot for Short Mountain Moonshiners

January 15th, 2012 1 comment

Jeff Schuler snaps a few photos of Josh Smotherman, Short Mountain Distillery’s Head of Production.

When our welder saw all the lights being set up Friday he joked with Ricky that we were going to make him famous. I told him he better get Ricky’s autograph while he can.

If it weren’t for a final piece of compliance I would have had all three of our moonshiners fire up the still right then just to warm us all up. The temperature in the shiner’s shack must have been close to freezing, but once the shiner’s took their jackets off for photos and the stories started flying, the room warmed right up.

Friday was one of those personal moments of pride after looking through the photos and seeing and feeling the history we are about to make together. I can’t wait for you to meet these living legends of our state’s whiskey making heritage.

Standing in a cloud of bee’s wings

December 30th, 2011 No comments

I guess the title pretty much gives it away, but I learned the hard way what bee’s wings are today at the still house, and it has very little to do with bees.

Neighbors helping neighbors make some moonshine

December 29th, 2011 No comments

corn shelling

Bobby Self brought his combine and a couple of friends to the farm today and helped us shell about 300 bushels of our first organic corn. He had already finished his harvest, and like most neighbors he wanted to do what he could to help us get our first batches of whiskey and moonshine going at Short Mountain Distillery.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not humbled by how much people are connecting with what we’re doing on Short Mountain. They want to help because they want to see our country get back to work. They know we’ve gone out of our way to make sure our equipment was made by our friends and neighbors right here at home. They see our shared values and our determination in action. Most importantly, they see America’s story.

I want to invite you to connect with a growing community of neighbors and friends who are ready to help export to the world a genuine taste of Tennessee’s rich agricultural heritage. Join us on Facebook and be a part of our shared dreams and aspirations at Short Mountain Distillery.