Archive for the ‘tourism’ Category

Demand for Tennessee moonshine on the rise

January 18th, 2012 No comments

Homemade moonshine is often proofed by “checking the bead,” shaking it to see the size and duration of bubbles.

Most people around the world know Tennessee for two things: country music and whiskey. They kinda go together if you think about it. Since a change in state law allowed more distilleries, whiskey’s spirited cousin promises to put Tennessee moonshine on the global map.

Ole Smoky plans to open second distillery
Ole Smoky Distillery, a Tennessee-based moonshine distillery, plans to expand operations and open its second distillery in the Smoky Mountain town to meet the demand for its products. Ole Smoky co-owner Joe Baker said he and Chuck Edwards have purchased Legends Restaurant on the downtown Parkway and will make different spirits at that site.

More moonshine distilleries in the planning stages:

‘Full Throttle Saloon’ TV star plans to open distillery in Trimble
Ballard, the star of the wildly popular reality series “Full Throttle Saloon” on the truTV network and successful business owner, received permission from the Trimble Board of Mayor and Aldermen to open a 9,000-square-foot moonshine distillery at the eastern end of South Main Street, where a cotton gin once stood.

Tennessee has a few moonshines on the market in addition to Ole Smoky. Collier and McKeel’s White Dog is a traditional sour mash recipe of corn, rye and malted barley used to make their aged Tennessee Whiskey. Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey uses a recipe of a third generation Moonshiner that lived and distilled his moonshine whiskey in Cocke County. Corsair offers Wry Moon Unaged Kentucky Whiskey and Pumpkin Spice Moonshine and Prichard’s Distillery produces Lincoln County Lightning Whiskey.

At Short Mountain Distillery, we just received federal label approval for our first moonshine: Short Mountain Shine, a 105 proof authentic Tennessee moonshine. It’s made using a family recipe handed down for generations made with organic corn and spring water from our farm.

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.

Building the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

January 14th, 2012 1 comment


A release published Thursday from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association highlights a challenge and an opportunity for the growing number of distilleries in the state of Tennessee.

A record 11,757 people visited all six distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour in 2011, far surpassing the previous mark of 9,402 set in 2010, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced today. Visitors came from all 50 states and 16 countries, the KDA reported.

What’s immediately obvious is that the report isn’t from the state of Kentucky or its tourism board. It’s from an association with much more interest in the success of its members and their place in the community and its history. Up until a recent change in state law, Tennessee only had three distilleries: Jack Daniel’s (Lynchburg), George Dickel (Normandy) and Prichard’s (Kelso – the only Tennessee owned distillery).

Today we have six permitted distilleries in the state of Tennessee with the additions of Tennessee-owned Ole Smoky (Gatlinburg), Short Mountain Distillery (Woodbury), and Kentucky-owned Corsair (Nashville). That brings the total to three Tennessee-owned distilleries. and more are on the way.

A quick look at the state of Tennessee’s effort to promote tourism illustrates another opportunity for distilleries to organize under a Tennessee Distillers’ Association. The closest effort to promote our industry and state heritage is something called the “White Lightning Trail.” Curiously absent from the listed points of interest is any one of the state’s distilleries, but it does include the Pizza Palace, Buttermilk Donut Shoppe, and the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

The next closest effort by the state of Tennessee to promote distilleries is literally named after Kentucky-owned Jack Daniel’s: “The Jack Trail.” Ironically, it’s the one trail Tennessee has corporately branded. Among the more than 326 listed attractions that would take you weeks to visit are: Nissan, JG’s Pizza &  Steakhouse, the Nashville Zoo and countless churches, government buildings and entire cities. The trail does include Jack Daniel’s, George Dickell and Prichard’s, but it’s so unfocused you’d never find them listed.

What the state needs is The Tennessee Whiskey Trail that takes visitors on a focused journey through our state’s deep history and heritage of whiskey making. As a couple of things here illustrate, this might be better handled by Tennessee’s distillers themselves.