It’s festival season everyone! Last weekend was the Taste of TN Craft Distillers event and next weekend is the Moonshine Music Festival at Short Mountain Distillery in Woodbury, TN. If you have yet to hit the Ttrail to Short Mountain, it’s high time you do. The distillery is worth a visit for its own sake without a music festival. Do yourself a favor and plan a visit to this 300 acre agri-tourism mecca for what is promised to be a day of great music and food, and amazing moonshine. While you’re there, be sure to visit the distillerie’s newly opened, on-site restaurant – The Stillhouse.
We spoke with Mike Musick of Gravity Nashville, who is partnering with Billy Kaufman of Short Mountain, to get more details on the festival. This is the first year for this venture and it is starting off on … Read More »
As many distillers around the state are finding, the road from distillery conception to realization is long. We are excited to see our friends at the Old Forge Distillery have made it through the refining fire to launch its product and open its showroom this week. Notably, the Old Forge Distillery is the first distillery in Pigeon Forge. Though they may be wet behind the ears as a distillery, they are far from new to the manufacturing, tourism, and hospitality game. Laurie Faulkner, Marketing Director at The Old Mill, explains the distillery is a natural extension to the artisan-rich Old Mill Square:
The rich history of the location and the existing popularity of the Old Mill Square will help us tell our story and attract visitors. The distillery’s concept & design drew inspiration from our rich history of production. Because of the … Read More »
The sleepy little town of Trimble, TN has all the charm you’d expect from a small rural municipality. Michael Ballard, owner of Full Throttle Saloon and reality TV star, had to leave his hometown to realize his dreams of owning what has become the largest biker bar in the country. No one can argue that Ballard sure knows how to build a brand and certainly knows how to party. However, as many can relate, there was always a desire to return home. The changes to distilling laws in Tennessee presented an opportunity for Ballard to continue his brand into spirits production. The way we see it, this was a win for Michael and wife Angie as they start a family together. It is also a huge win for his home town of Trimble, bringing jobs and major attraction to the … Read More »
Recently opened Doc Collier Moonshine in Gatlinburg is all about “keeping it local.” The Collier family has long standing roots in Sevier County and the Appalachian region. The family has been involved as mercantilists and enterprising businessmen and women for generations. A large part of their heritage and identity, like many people that hail from the region, is tied in with moonshining.
William “Doc” Collier, the namesake for the brand and forefather to the current operators, lived on English Mountain and according the legend made the best moonshine on the Tennessee side of the mountains. Doc’s shine was in such high demand that he was forced to brainstorm a way to distribute his product more efficiently. He needed to have a legitimate front that would provide a space for gathering his disparate clientele. Opening a mercantile provided Doc this much-needed balance. … Read More »
In the decades following the end of the Civil War, the American South was forcefully modernized. The expansion of rail lines and shipping routes transformed the agrarian economy that had ruled the south for so long into the beginnings of an industrialized society. While the legacies of many of the “Captains of Industry” (John D. Rockefeller, James B. Duke, Andrew Carnegie, etc.) are mixed, the United States did see a growing middle class during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and the beginnings of the modern era that saw the advent of leisure time for these workers.
As many of our readers know, the relationship between Tennesseans and alcohol was tenuous for a long time. The temperance movement held a lot of power over our political rhetoric and became increasingly important as the tides of public favor shifted toward prohibition. … Read More »
The moonshiner looms large in the Southern psyche and can conjure many evocative images: prohibition era desperation, an isolated Appalachia, and men who were willing to do what it takes to make ends meet. For many East Tennesseans the Great Depression changed very little about daily life. For many men and women in the region daily life happened to include moonshine, and for some it still does. See the second verse of our state song:
Once two strangers climbed ole Rocky Top,
Lookin’ for a moonshine still.
Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top,
Reckon they never will.
Corn won’t grow at all on Rocky Top,
Dirt’s too rocky by far.
That’s why all the folks on Rocky Top,
Get their corn from a jar.
To attempt to live up to the true … Read More »
One of the stops on the Trail has been a work in progress for some time, but here recently the boys over at Tenn South have made some real progress.
Aside from releasing their first product, All Purpose Shine, they have become a full fledged stop on the Trail, which is very exciting. They have opened up the distillery and tasting room to tours 2 days a week and are in close enough proximity to other distillers to make them a very attractive stop over.
Tenn South is located in Lynnville, TN which is located south of Nashville by about an hour along I-65. Tenn South has spent the past year ramping up and positioning itself as a long term player in the whiskey game by both releasing a Moonshine and also producing full size barrels of aging whiskey. Gotta hand it … Read More »
A few weeks ago the Trail headed east into that great, wild hill country that is the home of so much lore and myth and illegality… Gatlinburg. We had the oppurtunity to meet with the folks over at Ole Smoky and we couldn’t contain ourselves. They spent a couple of hours showing us around, answering our questions, and overall giving us a genuinely warm welcome.
The Wall of ‘Shine
We were greeted by the gregarious Johnny Baker, a relative of owner Joe Baker, which we were to learn is quite common. Ole Smoky is a family affair in the finest tradition of moonshiners, there was lots of talk about the history and tradition in the family about moonshining as a way of life. Believe it or not, Ole Smoky is a family friendly atmosphere. There was a real sense in which the kids were specifically excluded for their own … Read More »
We here at the Trail assumed the only whiskey related item on the State Legislature’s docket had come and gone (FYI – Chattanooga Whiskey production will be heading back to Chattanooga). That was until we noticed a report last week indicating that a bill had passed that would officially define “Tennessee Whiskey” – on a State level of course.
Most Tennessean’s are aware what distinguishes a Tennessee Whiskey from other styles. Colloquially, the term is indicative of processing what would otherwise be regarded as bourbon through Sugar Maple charcoal – aka the Lincoln County Process. Regardless of this common understanding, the Code of Federal Regulations does not distinguish a Tennessee Whiskey style with any specificity as it does with bourbon, rye, wheat, malt, and corn. This has never been an issue until the 2009 changes to the State law which essentially opened … Read More »
At the Whiskey Trail, we get a few interesting bits of information that come over the transom now and again. Most recently, images surfaced on the internet (interwebs, colloquially) of a new bottle by Popcorn Sutton. It’s a marked departure from the mason jars of the past and frankly, we’re stumped.
We live in a culture of fads. Most are ephemeral – few lasting more than a season. Many of the more rediculous collective fascinations can be easily ignored, but some are poignant reminders of how much free time we have. No better case exists than ‘unboxing videos’. To quote Kyle Buckley at nillabyte.com, “Unboxing is exactly what it sounds like, unwrapping or opening a product’s packaging and removing the product. The videos are even more boring than you would think. It is a form of extreme geek porn, and it needs … Read More »