Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Short Mountain Distillery brings regional tourism to Cannon County

August 30th, 2012 No comments

Billy Kaufman knew he had something more than just another moonshine to share with the world. The three moonshiners he knew before seeking the public’s support to build the distillery in 2010 had a story to share that was unique to the South and Tennessee in particular. And more than that, it’s the story of survival in hard times. It’s Cannon County’s story.

Open for just a few months, Short Mountain Distillery has logged more than 5,000 visitors who come to experience our unique whiskey making history and heritage. They come from Woodbury and surrounding counties as well as visitors from several states, all taking home a craving for the moonshine that reconnects them with the artisan and craft spirit of America.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Dan Whittle after his recent visit to get a “snort on Short.”

Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick echoes the optimism of “new revenue” being triggered by Short Mountain Distillery’s presence: “Woodbury and Cannon County have long been known for our crafts’ men and women, particularly for our unique basket weaving traditions. Now, the Short Mountain Distillery brings another longtime Cannon tradition to light, the making of moonshine, but now, it’s legal.”

“A spinoff benefit of the Mountain’s increased tourism, which brings clean dollars that require no increase in school rooms, roads or taxes,” the mayor added. “We’re beginning to see more bus tours and family tours coming specifically to historic Cannon County and Woodbury… ranging from our picturesque Public Square to the majesty of Short Mountain.”

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!

Billy Kaufman talks distillery jobs and tourism for Cannon County

August 17th, 2010 2 comments

Billy Kaufman and Distillery Organization Group’s Jim Massey talk with News Channel 5’s Kim Gebbia about distillery jobs and tourism on the November ballot in Cannon County. You can read the full story at WTVF-TV CBS Nashville.

Billy Kaufman’s property hasn’t seen a drop of grain liquor since a distillery ran here before prohibition. He wants to see it flowing again at his own craft distillery within the next few years.

“My dream is that we employ hundreds if not thousands someday,” said Kaufman.

Supporters say a craft distillery could also bring in tax dollars and tourism to the county. They add it’s a way to keep small farmers afloat.

“Historically distilleries are the most efficient way to turn crops to cash,” says Jim Massey, an advocate for craft distilleries across the state.

Jobs and tourism are on the November ballot in Cannon County

August 11th, 2010 3 comments

We just got word from Cannon County Administrator of Elections Stanley Dobson that our distillery petition has enough signatures and will qualify for the November 2, 2010 ballot. The certified petition will be presented to a special session of the county commission Aug. 28.

This will be Tennessee’s first distillery referendum under a new state law making it legal for distilleries to operate across the state. The new law requires a referendum process in counties where there is no liquor by the drink or package stores.

The referendum process has been a wonderful opportunity for us to meet voters and to hear their stories and their pride in our history. It’s also been an eye-opener to what we need to preserve our way of life and that’s jobs and tourism.

In November’s general election, Cannon County voters can now vote YES for jobs and tourism.

Over the next couple of months we hope you can help us give voters a reason to be proud of our agricultural heritage and what a new American brand of distilled spirits can do for community and our state.

Also read:

Special session called to address distillery referendum

August 9th, 2010 3 comments

Today’s Cannon Courier reports that County Executive Mike Gannon has called a special session of the County Commission for August 28th to address the state’s first distillery referendum. The election commission is currently in the process of validating and certifying the petition signatures we turned in last week.

Cannon County Administrator of Elections Stan Dobson was in the process Monday morning of certifying the signatures on the petition for the referendum, which was presented to him Friday by a group of citizens hoping to start Short Mountain Distillery.

The election office must certify that the petition contains the names of 10 percent or more of the qualified voters of Cannon County, based upon the number of votes cast in the 2008 presidential election, according to state law.

The group turned in over 800 signatures Friday. According to the election office, 554 were needed to hold a referendum.

However, before a referendum can be held, the petition must be received by the Cannon County Commission. Commissioners will not vote on whether the referendum will take place, only that they have received a petition for one which contains the required number of signatures from registered county voters.

If certified, this will be the state’s first distillery referendum under a new law and will allow voters to decide whether they want jobs, tourism and revenue that will come with a new American brand of distilled spirits started right here in Cannon County.

Group turns in signatures for Tennessee’s first distillery referendum

August 6th, 2010 3 comments

(WOODBURY, TN) – A group wanting to create a Tennessee brand of distilled spirits in Cannon County, Tennessee will turn in petition signatures Friday at noon for a county wide referendum. (photo courtesy of Cannon Courier)

Cannon County farmer Billy Kaufman and supporters will deliver over 800 signatures collected over the past two months to Cannon County Election Commission Chair Stanley Dobson at noon today in Woodbury, TN. The signatures must be validated and approved by the county commission before voters can decide in the county’s November general election whether or not they want a distillery under a new state law.

If voters approve the referendum, Short Mountain Distillery will operate on Kaufman’s 300 acre farm on Short Mountain in Liberty, Tennessee.

“This is about jobs,” said Kaufman. “It’s also about tourism, revenue and the kind of sustainability we need to preserve our way of life.”

In 2009, the state legislature passed a law allowing legal distilleries across the state of Tennessee. Lawmakers put in place a referendum process for counties that do not already allow liquor by the drink or package stores. Distillery referendum petitions require a total number of signatures equal to the county’s total votes cast in the last Presidential election.

Cannon County has a rich agricultural heritage that also produced what some say was the best distilled spirits in the country before and during prohibition. Moonshine from the hills of Cannon County is specifically celebrated in old time country music songs once sung at the Grand Ole Opry by Uncle Dave Macon, Porter Wagoner and others. Tennessee is well known around the world for Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel aged whiskeys.

“Throughout this process we spoke with a lot of people, young and old, who have called Cannon County home all their life,” Kaufman said. “The support and enthusiasm people are sharing with us has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Short Mountain Distillery will bring tourism, jobs and needed county revenue while honoring the community’s history and character.

“We want to work directly with local farmers and businesses as we grow,” Kaufman said. “We want to share our local history with the world, and we want tourism to bring new opportunities for local businesses.”

Kaufman and his brothers, David and Ben, are the great-grand children of Jesse Shwayder, the founder of another well-known American brand Samsonite 100 years ago in 1910. Their grandfather, Louis Degan, ran Samsonite’s Murfreesboro, TN location for decades employing many Middle Tennesseans.

Short Mountain Distillery will be a small-batch craft distiller creating specialty brands of moonshine and aged whiskey. For more information and photos from today’s filing, visit our website at