Tennessee Whiskey

Active distilleries

Benjamin Prichard’s (Prichard’s Distillery)

Prichard’s Distillery logo

Prichard’s Distillery was established by Phil Prichard in 1997, the first legal distillery to be built in Tennessee in nearly fifty years. The Prichard family has been distilling spirits since the 1800s.

Prichard’s Distillery produces rum and whiskey. The whiskey is distilled in small batches using copper pot stills and matured in small, 15 gallon charred white oak barrels. Their product ranges includes:

  • Benjamin Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey (80 Proof/40% ABV, 10 years old)
  • Benjamin Prichard’s Double Barreled Bourbon (90 Proof/45% ABV)
  • Benjamin Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning (90 Proof/45% ABV, unaged)
  • Benjamin Prichard’s Sweet Lucy Bourbon Liqueur (70 Proof/35% ABV)
  • Benjamin Prichard’s Single Malt Whiskey (80 Proof/40% ABV)

Prichard’s Distillery is currently located in Kelso, Tennessee. For location and tour details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

They were reportedly planning to relocate production to ‘Fontanel Mansion & Farm’ which is located at 4225 Whites Creek Pike, Whites Creek, Nashville, Tennessee. At this time, Prichard’s Distillery continues to operate at their Kelso location.

Collier and McKeel

Collier and McKeel logo

Collier and McKeel Distillery was established in 2010.

The distillery uses a 570 gallon hand-hammered copper pot still which was made by Vendome Copper and Brass of Louisville, Kentucky. The whiskey is mellowed through sugar maple charcoal and matured in small sized barrels.

Collier and McKeel Distillery produces vodka and whiskey. Their product ranges includes:

  • Collier and McKeel Tennessee Whiskey (80 Proof/40% ABV)
  • Collier and McKeel White Dog (120 Proof/60% ABV, unaged)
  • Collier and McKeel Fiery Gizzard Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey

The distillery is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The distillery is housed in the Marathon Motorworks Village. Built in the late 1800′s, the building was formerly used as a production facility for the Marathon automobile.

For location details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail. Collier and McKeel is currently not open for distillery visits.

Corsair Artisan (Corsair Artisan Tennessee Distillery)

Corsair Artisan logo

Corsair Artisan was co-founded by Andrew Webber and Darek Bell in 2007 and incorporated in 2008. In early 2010, Corsair Artisan LLC established a brewery and distillery in Nashville, Tennessee. This is Corsair Artisan’s second distillery, their other distillery is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Corsair Artisan Distillery is located at 1200 Clinton Street, Nashville, Tennessee, 37212. The distillery is housed in the Marathon Motorworks Village. Built in the late 1800′s, the building was formerly used as a production facility for the Marathon automobile.

For location and tour details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

East Tennessee Distillery

East Tennessee Distillery logo

East Tennessee Distillery was established by business partners Neil Roberson, Byron Reece and Gary Melvin. They sold their first liquor products in October 2012.

They currently sell a range of moonshines, including:

  • Roberson’s Tennessee Mellomoon Original (100 proof)
  • Roberson’s Tennessee Mellomoon 150 (150 proof)
  • Roberson’s Tennessee Mellomoon Caramel (70 proof)
  • Roberson’s Tennessee Mellomoon Coconut (70 proof)
  • Roberson’s Tennessee Mellomoon Peach (70 proof)
  • Roberson’s Tennessee Mellomoon Strawberry (70 proof)

They also plan to make a Tennessee Whiskey in the future.

The Master Distiller is Neil Roberson, more commonly known as ‘Tiny Roberson’ (clearly an ironic nickname given his imposing size).

The distillery is located in Piney Flats, Tennessee. For location and tour details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

George Dickel (George A Dickel & Co.)

George Dickel logo

George A. Dickel distilled his first bottle of Tennessee Whiskey in 1870. Sometime during the 1870s Dickel bought a controlling interest in the Cascade Hollow Distillery. Today the distillery is known as the George Dickel Distillery in his honour. George Dickel is currently owned by Diageo plc.

George Dickel reportedly declared that his whisky was the equal of the finest Scotch and in keeping with the Scotch whisky tradition, he decided to drop the ‘e’ traditionally used when referring to American ‘whiskey’.

George Dickel is the only Tennessee whisky to chill the whisky before it goes into the charcoal mellowing vats. Dickel had discovered that whisky made during the winter was smoother than whisky made in the summer.

John Lunn is the current Master Distiller at George Dickel.

The George Dickel whisky range includes:

  • George Dickel Cascade Hollow Tennessee Whisky (80 Proof/40% ABV)
  • George Dickel Old No. 8 Tennessee Whisky (80 Proof/40% ABV)
  • George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky (90 Proof/45% ABV)
  • George Dickel Barrel Select (86 Proof/43% ABV, aged 10-12 years)

The distillery is located on Cascade Hollow Road, in Tullahoma, Tennessee. For location and tour details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

Jack Daniel’s (Jack Daniel Distillery)

Jack Daniels logo

The Jack Daniel Distillery was established by Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel and licensed in 1866, making it the oldest registered distillery in the United States. Jack Daniel’s is currently owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation.

Jack Daniel’s whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging. Jeff Arnett is the current Master Distiller, the seventh to date in Jack Daniel’s history.

The core Jack Daniel’s whiskey range includes:

  • Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey (80 Proof/40% ABV)
  • Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey (90 Proof/45% ABV)
  • Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey (80 Proof/40% ABV)
  • Jack Daniel’s Silver Select Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey (100 Proof/50% ABV)

The distillery is located in the small town of Lynchburg, Tennessee. For location and tour details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

Tenn South Distillery

Tenn South Distillery logo

Tenn South Distillery first broke ground in a ceremony held on 18 May 2012. The distillery currently offers unaged liquors, while their whiskey matures. Their first product, All Purpose Shine, reached retail stores in Tennessee in August 2013.

Their spirits on offer include: All Purpose Shine, Black Mule Vodka, Abernathy Gin and Shine Flavors.

The distillery is located near the small town of Lynnville, in Giles County, Tennessee. Before the distillery was established, there had not been a legal distillery in Giles County for over a century.

Tenn South co-founder Clayton Cutler is the current Master Distiller.

Their whiskey will be called ‘Clayton James Tennessee Whiskey’ and is currently scheduled for release in mid 2014. Since they don’t have a ‘famous ancestor who made whiskey’ – they decided to name their whiskey by combining the names of the two founders: Clayton Cutler and James Blair Butler.

The mash bill contains white corn, wheat and malted barley, which is fermented and then copper pot distilled.

In the Tennessee Whiskey tradition, their whiskey is charcoal mellowed. That is, the spirits are dripped through sugar maple charcoal (the ‘Lincoln County Process’), before going into new charred American white oak barrels for aging.

For distillery location and tour details, see our Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

Planned distilleries

These are distilleries that have not yet released Tennessee Whiskey, some are yet to commence operations.

Chattanooga Whiskey Company

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company currently produces two whiskeys: ‘1816 Reserve’ and ‘1816 Cask’.

The mash bill consists of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. The whiskey is aged for three years in charred American white oak barrels. 1816 Reserve is bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV), while 1816 Cask is bottled at 113.6 proof (56.8% ABV).

Their whiskey is currently being produced in Indiana, as laws dating back to the Prohibition era had prevented them from operating a distillery in Hamilton County.

Founders Tim Piersant and Joe Ledbetter planned to build and operate a whiskey distillery in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They fought hard to change the law, and finally in June 2013 they were successful in overturning the old laws.

In October 2013, they announced that their ‘Tennessee Stillhouse’ will be located in downtown Chattanooga, on the corner of Broad Street and 4th Street.

In November 2013, Andrew Kean joined the team as the new president of the company.

They originally intended for the Tennessee Stillhouse to open in late 2014, however ongoing legal and planning issues have delayed the opening until Spring 2015.

Chattanooga Whiskey Company co-founder, Joe Ledbetter, resigned from his position in the company in July 2014, citing ongoing professional and personal clashes. Ledbetter still retains a seat on the board and ownership in the company. The resignation shortly followed his arrest in June 2014 for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and retaliation against a judge, juror or officer. Ledbetter publicly apologized for his actions and has since noted that his resignation was not due to the arrest, but rather that he’s “really tough to work with”. Ledbetter is now working on a new project: ‘The Barrelhouse Lab’.

The architect working on the Tennessee Stillhouse is Thomas Palmer. An artist’s impression of the new facility is shown below:

Tennessee Stillhouse

Further information is available on the Chattanooga Whiskey Company website: chattanoogawhiskey.com.

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery

Brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson are resurrecting the whiskey business that their great-great-great grandfather, Charles Nelson established in the 1800s.

Charles Nelson was a highly successful merchant in Tennessee, his three best selling products being coffee, meat and whiskey. The sales of whiskey proved so successful that he couldn’t keep up with demand, so Nelson decided to purchase the distillery producing the whiskey, located in Greenbrier, Tennessee.

Nelson expanded the production capacity of the distillery, and by the late 1880s the volume produced at the distillery dwarfed that of its competitors such as Jack Daniel’s and Cascade Hollow (now George Dickel). Charles Nelson passed away on December 13, 1891. His wife Louisa assumed control of the distillery and she ran the operations until the distillery had to close in 1909 due to Prohibition.

Nelsons Green Brier Distillery Miss Louisa

Their copper still is named ‘Miss Louisa’ in honor of their great-great-great grandmother, who ran the family distillery for 18 years after the death of her husband.

Andy and Charlie are currently selling bourbon produced elsewhere, under the ‘Belle Meade Bourbon’ label. The brothers have Charles Nelson’s old recipes and plan to re-establish the family distillery, continuing the legacy started by their ancestors.

The distillery is under development at 1414 Clinton Street, Nashville, Tennessee, 37203. They received their State of Tennessee Distiller or Rectifier Permit on 1 July 2014.

Further information is available on the Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery website: greenbrierdistillery.com.

SPEAKeasy Spirits

SPEAKeasy Spirits was founded by Jeff Pennington and his wife Jenny Pennington in 2009. SPEAKeasy Spirits LLC announced the successful completion of their state and federal permit applications process on 24 February 2012.

The first brand to be launched under the SPEAKeasy name will be ‘Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream’, a Tennessee Whiskey Cream Liqueur. The product release was scheduled for April 2012.

SPEAKeasy Spirits also plans to offer private labeling, bottling and manufacturing services for the alcohol beverage industry.

The distillery is located at 900 44th Avenue North, Suite 100, Nashville, Tennessee.

Further information is available on the SPEAKeasy Spirits website: speakeasy-spirits.com.

The Tennessee Spirits Company

The formation of The Tennessee Spirits Company was announced alongside the establishment of its parent company, Capital Brands LLC on 27 March 2012.

In late 2013, news broke that Capital Brands had discontinued production.

The company was planning to build a distillery in Pulaski, in Giles County, Tennessee. Dave Scheurich was to be the Master Distiller for The Tennessee Spirits Company.

Their products included: ‘Jailers Premium Tennessee Whiskey’ (86 proof / 43% ABV), ‘Breakout Premium 8-Year-Old American Rye Whiskey’ (86 proof / 43% ABV), and ‘Forbidden Secret American Cream Liqueur’ (30 proof / 15% ABV).

The distillery was to be located at One Whiskey Way in Pulaski, Tennessee, at the Junction of Interstate 65 and State Highway 64.

Their website (tennesseespiritscompany.com) is no longer active.

Other producers… technically not ‘Tennessee Whiskey’

These producers make spirits that do not meet the criteria to be classified as ‘Tennessee Whiskey’.

Some of these distilleries are planning to produce Tennessee Whiskey in the future, others make unaged spirits (not matured in oak barrels).

There has been a recent surge in the number of producers moving into the legal manufacture of ‘Moonshine’ and there are many others making unaged spirits in addition to those listed below.

Full Throttle Distillery

A distillery is being established in the small town of Trimble (Dyer County, Tennessee) by reality TV show star Michael Ballard. Michael starred in ‘Full Throttle Saloon’ – an American TV series about his bar of the same name. Full Throttle Saloon (located in Sturgis, South Dakota) is the world’s largest biker bar, but opens for just 10 days a year during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.

Michael chose to establish the distillery in Trimble as he grew up in the town and still has family there.

The Full Throttle Distillery will produce moonshine (unaged spirit), which will be branded as: Full Throttle Sl’oon Shine. It is currently being produced in Boulder, Colorado until the Trimble distillery is operating.

Construction of the distillery is expected to be completed in the fall of 2013.

Further information can be found at the State Gazette articles below:

http://www.stategazette.com/story/1912689.html

http://www.stategazette.com/story/1833216.html

http://www.stategazette.com/story/1803204.html

Ole Smoky Distillery

The Ole Smoky Distillery was established in July 2010.

The distillery produces a number of unaged spirits including the Ole Smoky Original Tennessee Moonshine which is an unaged corn ‘whiskey’ (80% corn, the remaining 20% is a closely guarded secret).

The distillery is located at 903 Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 37738. Directions to the distillery can be found here.

Popcorn Sutton Distilling

Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey

Marvin ‘Popcorn’ Sutton was a third generation moonshiner that lived and distilled his moonshine whiskey in Cocke County, Tennessee. Sutton became a folk hero after publishing his autobiography (Me and My Likker) and featuring in a number of videos and documentaries on moonshine. On 16 March 2009, Popcorn Sutton took his own life rather than go to federal prison for making Moonshine Whiskey. Sutton, 62 at the time, had recently been diagnosed with cancer and pleas for him to serve his sentence under house arrest were unsuccessful.

Popcorn believed in his whiskey and the traditions he lived and ultimately died for. Even in the midst of his impending prison sentence he managed to ensure his life’s work would continue by passing this tradition onto his apprentice Jamey Grosser, who he called the ‘grocery boy’.

On 9 November 2010, Hank Williams Jr. announced his partnership with J&M Concepts LLC and widow Pam Sutton to distill and distribute Popcorn Sutton’s whiskey legally for the first time. ‘Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey’ is produced on stills designed by Sutton using his secret family recipe and techniques Sutton entrusted to Jamey Grosser (of J&M Concepts LLC).

Sutton was apparently given the nickname of ‘Popcorn’ after damaging a bar’s faulty popcorn vending machine with a pool cue.

Short Mountain Distillery

The Short Mountain Distillery commenced production in January 2012 and is owned and operated by the Kaufman brothers. Tours and tastings were available from 23 March 2012 and the distillery’s official opening is scheduled for 21 April 2012.

The distillery plans to make a number of products including Tennessee Moonshine, Bourbon Whiskey, and Tennessee Whiskey using corn grown and stone-milled on a 300 acre farm in Cannon County, Tennessee.

The distillery is located at 119 Mountain Spirits Lane, Woodbury, Tennessee, 37190. Directions to the distillery can be found here.

 


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