Posts Tagged ‘Short Mountain Distillery’

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.

Short Mountain Distillery launches Apple Pie Moonshine

October 16th, 2012 3 comments

Short Mountain Distillery’s official launch of our Apple Pie Moonshine is Saturday November 10, 2012 at the Still House 9am – 4pm.

Be sure to bring your favorite lawn chair and warm jacket and enjoy a day of mule wagon rides, lite lunch served by The Blue Porch and music from the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. The crew from Hazard Life will also be here with replicas of the entire Dukes of Hazard fleet.

Come join us for free moonshine tastings as well as an opportunity to purchase some of the first bottles of Short Mountain Apple Pie Moonshine!

WINTER SCHEDULE ANNOUNCEMENT: Beginning Nov. 10, Short Mountain Distillery will begin our winter schedule with extended holiday store hours. From Nov. 10, 2012 – March 20, 2013, tours are limited to scheduled charter buses. Our store hours will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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)

Opportunity for leadership at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce

tnchamberToday’s news that the head of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce is out is an opportunity for the state’s business community to choose the kind of leadership that reflects the business values and practices of our state’s very best job creators.

Deb Woolley, president and CEO, has left in accordance with the terms of her contract, effective May 31, according to the chamber. Wayne Scharber, the chamber’s vice president for environment and taxation, will serve as interim president amid the search for a more permanent replacement.

“We are going to build on the Tennessee Chamber’s 100-year track record of success, with new programs and fresh ideas on how better to serve Tennessee businesses and industries,” Bill Ozier, chairman of the chamber’s board, said in a statement.

In May of last year, Chamber leadership under President Deb Woolley came into question by state business leaders in multiple press releases from members like Alcoa, Nissan, FedEx, Comcast, AT&T, Embraer, KPMG, and UnitedHealth. The questions followed the Chamber’s promotion of HB600, a bill championed by back-benched politicians and lobbyists seeking to stop cities and municipalities from implementing the kind of nondiscrimination policies that separate the nation’s very best businesses from the mediocre. The bill embarrassed the state with national news portraying the bill and those promoting it for exactly what they are.

As the Chamber seeks the kind of leadership our state deserves, I hope it considers the important questions that were asked by business leaders, including Short Mountain Distillery in an open letter published in May 2011:

My concern is how the very best brands and job creating members were represented by the Chamber. What assurances do other businesses have that Chamber leadership will adequately represent the values of its best members? What can the Chamber do to ensure the values of the Chamber’s most valued brands wont be co-opted by personal political agendas causing members to issue embarrassing press releases to create distance from Chamber mistakes?

Today’s news hopefully begins answering these questions. Tennessee’s business community deserves leadership that lifts our state up as an example, not one that embarrasses our Governor and our state’s best business leaders with the values of our very worst politicians.

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.

Review: Reviving traditional Tennessee distilling ‘brilliantly’

April 3rd, 2012 1 comment

Check out the very nice review of Short Mountain Distillery by Chuck Rainey in the April edition of Nashville Lifestyles: Let It Shine – Short Mountain Distillery revives traditional Tennessee distilling brilliantly.

Since opening March 23, the Still House Store has sold out of our authentic Tennessee Moonshine every day, and we’re working hard to keep up while also fulfilling orders to place the product in stores across the state of Tennessee this Spring. Visitors probably won’t see much of the steady pace of the Still House against the backdrop of slow farm life, but you can sure taste the results when the two come together.

Long before you arrive on site, the fresh air and gorgeous scenery begin to take hold and cast away the cares of daily drudgery, taking you back to a simpler time. Genuine handshakes, friendly smiles and a piece of Tennessee tradition await you at Short Mountain Distillery. Picnic tables are scattered about the property in welcoming fashion. Bring a lunch, some cards, a checker board and stay awhile. You are welcome.

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!

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.