15 Best Distilleries in Tennessee
Highlighted by the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee is undoubtedly one of America’s prettiest states. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country’s most visited national park and nurtures a hotbed of wildlife. From vigorous hiking trails to enchanting waterfalls, Tennessee is a nature lover’s paradise.
The state’s remarkable beauty drew European settlers searching for a new life in the 18th century. Just spend one afternoon wandering the Tennessee hills and valleys, and it’s easy to understand the attraction. Many of the earliest settlers in Tennessee were of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and the ambling travelers brought the secrets of whiskey production with them. Settling in the Great Smoky Mountains, the immigrants utilized the land’s rich resources to lay the foundation of American Whiskey culture. A Tennessee getaway is the perfect vacation for discovering the longstanding Tennesse whiskey tradition.
Today, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail includes 26 distilleries across each region of the state. These distilling traditions have spanned multiple generations and stepping inside each distillery lets you witness the endearing passion that goes into crafting Tennessee’s legendary spirits. Tennessee’s Whiskey culture played an immense role in shaping its culture and is a fantastic starting point for our Tennessee posts. Let’s kick off Tennessee by learning about 15 of the best distilleries you’ll find on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail.
15 Best Distilleries in Tennessee
Jack Daniel’s Distillery | Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery | George Dickel Distillery | Short Mountain Distillery | Corsair Distillery | Old Glory Distilling Co. | Ole Smoky Distillery | Old Tennessee Distilling Co. | Old Forge Distillery | Nashville Craft Distillery | Old Dominick Distillery | Southern Pride Distillery | Sugarlands Distilling Co. | Leiper’s Fork Distillery | Knox Whiskey Works |
1. Jack Daniel’s Distillery
280 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352
As the first registered distillery in the United States, Jack Daniel’s Distillery is a treasured piece of Tennessee history. Established in 1866, Jack Daniel’s shared Old No. 7 to the masses and won numerous accolades for the delectable whiskey. After overcoming years of struggle during Prohibition and WWII, Old No. 7 became an American legend linked to the rock & roll scene. Over the years, the Jack Daniel’s brand has continued to expand and refine itself as Tennessee’s most recognizable distillery. As you visit the distillery you can take the Jack Daniels distillery tour and learn how they make their famous Old No 7.
The charcoal-mellowed Old No. 7 remains the timeless classic, but Jack Daniel’s has added dozens of blends to its repertoire. Tennessee Apple has the taste of crisp apples, the Single Barrel collection contains rich notes for the nose and palate, and Gentleman Jack is shockingly smooth. Try the Tennessee Honey for a sweet treat, Tennessee Fire for a little kick, or the Sinatra Select for smokiness and a smooth vanilla finish.
2. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
1414 Clinton St, Nashville, TN 37203
Brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson worked relentlessly to resurrect the distillery that delivered Tennessee’s original whiskey to the world. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was in high demand in markets across the globe by the late 19th century, and the distillery known as “Old Number Five” earned praise for its warm hospitality for travelers. In 1909, the distillery that placed Tennessee whiskey on the map had to close its doors due to state-wide Prohibition. After recounting cherished memories of the former family business, the Nelsons relaunched Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery exactly 100 years from its previous closure.
Filtered through sugar maple charcoal and aged in new charred oak barrels, Green Briar’s wheated mash bill remains a crowd favourite. Billed as the original Tennessee whiskey, the classic recipe took a gold medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Tennessee whiskey satisfies the nose with notes of caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, and apple and soothes the palate with brown sugar, cinnamon roll, caramel apple, and a hint of cocoa. Through the hard work of the Nelsons, the distillery also brought back Belle Meade Bourbon and created Louisa’s Coffee Caramel Pecan Liqueur.
3. George Dickel Distillery
1950 Cascade Hollow Rd, Tullahoma, TN 37388
For around 150 years, George Dickel Distillery has built a hallowed reputation for crafting some of Tennessee’s finest spirits. George A. Dickel was a revered businessman in Nashville when testing his talents in the whisky industry in the 19th century. Dickel purchased large shares of the Cascade Hollow Distillery and soon began advertising their brand of whisky as “Mellow as Moonlight.” To this day, the distillery chills their whisky before going through the Lincoln County Process to create smooth, refreshing flavours.
Recipe No. 1 Whisky serves as the foundation of their corn whisky recipes and one of the finest un-aged whiskies you’ll find in Tennessee. The same mash bill is used to craft their Recipe No. 8, Recipe No. 12, and Barrell Select whiskies. George Dickel also offers limited barrels aged at either 9 years or 15 years for customers looking for a unique taste and aroma. Their tempting list of cocktails includes Tennessee specialties including Tennessee Roots, Tennessee Old Fashioned, Southern Simplicity, Dickel Tennessee Valentine, and many others.
4. Short Mountain Distillery
8280 Short Mountain Rd, Woodbury, TN 37190
Located on a 400-acre working farm in Cannon County, Short Mountain Distillery crafts Organic Tennessee Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey, and other unique spirits. Before Prohibition in 1920, Short Mountain produced some of Tennessee’s finest moonshine and was vital to the state’s agriculture. Despite the disruption of Prohibition, Short Mountain’s moonshiners protected their traditions and even made moonshine for Al Capone. Today, Short Mountain gives customers an authentic glimpse of the cherished heritage of producing Tennessee moonshine and other spirits.
Short Mountain’s whiskey products are aged in American White Oak barrels and housed for 4+ years in their old-fashioned barn. Their 100-proof Green Thumb Organic Tennessee Whiskey is made with 100% organic malts and grains that invigorates the palate. Short Mountain Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey contains hints of vanilla, caramel, and a touch of black pepper. Other Short Mountain originals include the Short Mountain Shine, Prohibition Tea Shine, and Apple Pie Shine.
5. Corsair Distillery
1200 Clinton St #110, Nashville, TN 37203 (Corsair Distillery Taproom & Tasting Room) and 601 Merritt Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 (Corsair Distillery & Headquarters)
Proudly crafted in Nashville, Corsair Distillery has earned over 450 medals in its illustrious history. The distillery gains lofty praise for its splendid whiskies, gins, and off-the-wall spirit concoctions. Childhood friends Darek Bell and Andrew Webber initially had aspirations of homebrewing beer and wine, but their passions drifted towards spirits. The duo formed Corsair Distillery in 2008 and became Nashville’s first craft distillery since prohibition. Their innovative spirits have been recognized by several international publications and won awards at numerous spirit competitions. Corsair has quickly transformed into a mainstay in Tennessee with two distilleries in Nashville.
The team produces a diverse range of products that include whiskeys, gins, rum, vodka, and brandy. Thanks to unique brewing techniques, Corsair has developed a taste that stands out amongst other distilleries. Their Dark Rye American Rye Malt Whiskey has hints of chocolate and coffee, while the Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey has three distinct clouds of smoke to please the nose and pallet. The American and Barreled Gins are each pot-distilled and produce notes of citrus, cucumber, juniper, cinnamon, and oak.
6. Old Glory Distilling Co.
451 Alfred Thun Rd, Clarksville, TN 37040
Old Glory Distilling Company is a small batch artisan distillery that values quality over flashiness. The staff takes tremendous pride in crafting their spirits the right way and ensuring only the best batches go in each bourbon. Grains used by Old Glory come from local farmers, and their renowned Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon is aged in top-quality oak barrels.
Old Glory’s signature Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey takes samples pulled from each barrel in a batch and blends them for a sublime balance. Their Tennessee Vodka is distilled through copper pot stills and filtered through the same sugar maple charcoal as their prized whiskey. The Smooth Shine TN Moonshine packs a punch, and you shouldn’t miss the flavoured moonshines like the Blueberry Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Apple Cider, and Cinnamon Roll.
7. Ole Smoky Distillery
903 Parkway #128, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (Holler)
Ole Smoky Distillery pays homage to the Smoky Mountain settlers who produced the finest moonshine in the Tennessee countryside. When state law allowed the legal production and distribution of shine in 2009, a new class of moonshiners got to work to craft the best shine in Tennessee. Ole Smoky became Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery, and the national media coverage attracted millions of visitors.
The distillery produces over a dozen moonshine flavours using authentic East Tennessee recipes and gives visitors an inside glimpse of the distillation process. Ole Smoky’s Original, Blue Flame, Moonshine Cherries, 153, and White Lightnin’ pack a serious punch at 100+ proof. The sheer amount of flavours is off the charts with concoctions such as Apple Pie, Moonshine Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Cucumber Mojito, Sour Apple, Blackberry, Butter Pecan, and several others. Ole Smoky also dabs in hand-crafted whiskies with unique blends like Salty Caramel Whiskey, Mango Habanero Whiskey, and Root Beer Whiskey.
8. Old Tennessee Distilling Co.
3605 Outdoor Sportsman Pl, Kodak, TN 37764
Old Tennessee Distilling symbolizes the American spirit and undeniable passion to craft the highest-quality spirits from the Tennessee Mountains. Once named after the storied roads moonshiners used to move hooch, Old Tennessee pays tribute to the earliest moonshiners of the Smoky Mountains. The history tributes the famous 1958 movie Thunder Road that describes the harrowing tale of the early moonshiners. Visitors can learn about whiskey’s remarkable history in the United States and learn about the distilling process that has spanned generations.
Old Tennessee’s whiskies come from heirloom corn and distilled at a slim proof range to ensure customers receive an enriched flavour. Mitchum’s Thunder Road Premium American Corn Whiskey and Dumplin Creek Gin have each earned several accolades for the distillery. Their award-winning selection of rum and rye includes the Thunder Road Runner’s Rye, Thunder Road Renegade Rum, Thunder Road Coconut Flavored Rum, and Cal E. Johnson Black Mountain Rum. Old Tennessee also experiments with numerous moonshine flavours such as French Vanilla, Watermelon Falls, Pumpkin Patch, Autumn Maple, Toasted Mango, Blackberry Bramble, Apple Pie, and others.
9. Old Forge Distillery
170 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Situated in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Old Forge Distillery has distilling roots that date back to the first Smoky Mountain settlers that hailed from Ireland and Scotland. The rich water source and quality grains laid a solid foundation to develop the Tennessee tradition that still flourishes today. Old Forge keeps the heritage alive by using old-fashioned methods developed by the earliest settlers. The distillery opened its doors in 2014 with a unique line of moonshine and produces other award-winning spirits such as rum, vodka, and single-barrel aged bourbon.
Named after the year the Old Mill was built, 1830 Original Moonshine is Old Forge’s signature recipe. The head distiller also dabs with deliciously flavoured moonshines such as Chocolate, Coffee, French Toast, and Peach. Old Forge’s menu has expanded beyond shine and includes molasses-distilled Old Forge Rum, 80-proof Old Forge Vodka, and Tennessee Roots Harvest Gin.
10. Nashville Craft Distillery
514 Hagan St, Nashville, TN 37203
Established in 2016, Nashville Craft Distillery is one of the newest additions to the Tennessee whiskey scene. The distillery uses local and regional ingredients whenever possible and produces hand-crafted spirits from scratch in the heart of Nashville.
Nestled in the Wedgewood-Houston neighbourhood, stop by to taste bourbon, gin, liqueur, and other small-batch spirits during a trip to Music City. Made from locally-produced sweet sorghum cane, the Naked Biscuit Sorghum Spirit is the distillery’s original recipe. The Golden Biscuit Sorghum Spirit takes the same recipe and ages it inside bourbon barrels. With tasting notes of caramel, vanilla, and maple on the nose and fruit followed by oak on the palate, the Original Bourbon Whiskey was Nashville Craft’s first whiskey. The Traditional Bourbon Whiskey has a delectable aroma of caramel, cherry, and vanilla, and the Crane City Gin is infused with seven botanicals and distilled in copper pot stills.
11. Old Dominick Distillery
305 South Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Old Dominick’s humble beginnings date to 1866 when Domenico Canale established the food wholesaler D. Canale & Co. in Memphis and sold whiskey in ceramic jars and bottles. Domenico’s southern infused whiskey took Memphis by storm with its fruity overtones and incredible flavour. Five generations later, Old Dominick Distillery carries its family tradition of crafting fine spirits and sharing the classic Memphis taste invented long before the days of Prohibition.
Following the rebirth of the spirit brand in 2013, the establishment now includes a production distillery, tasting room, tour experience, and restaurant. Domenico Canale’s classic Memphis Toddy is where it all began, and the top-seller combines their signature high-rye bourbon with natural ingredients. The Huling Station Straight Bourbon is produced from a high-rye mash bill that’s reminiscent of pre-Prohibition Memphis. Formula No. 10 Gin provides an excellent base for your favourite gin cocktails, and the Memphis Vodka is crafted from the finest ingredients that illustrate Old Dominick’s superb quality.
12. Southern Pride Distillery
108 Smith Mill Rd, Fayetteville, TN 37334
Situated in Southern Lincoln County, Southern Pride Distillery is a small batch artisan distillery dedicated to upholding their ancestors’ traditions. Southern Pride opened its doors in 2012, but the cherished recipes date back generations to produce the finest spirits. The distillery uses locally-grown corn, an on-site natural spring water source, and uses copper pot stills to craft the finished product.
Southern Pride’s Original Flavor is a smooth and mellow moonshine that earned a silver medal at the 2015 Denver International Spirits Competition. Other irresistible flavours of moonshine offered include Peach, Apple, Green Apple, and Blackberry. Part of their production is ageing to produce a Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey, and other blends currently available include Double Barrel Whiskey and Cinnamon Whiskey.
13. Sugarlands Distilling Co.
805 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Located in downtown Gatlinburg, Sugarlands Distilling offers one of the top whiskey experiences in the United States. The distillery opened in 2014 and uses modern equipment to craft award-winning spirits to soothe the palate of every customer. Go behind the scenes on a facility tour and learn the Still House secrets that craft each mash into delicious Sugarlands Shine. Sugarlands Distilling also partners with the Discovery Channel’s hit show Moonshiners that delves into the world of revered moonshiners.
Sugarlands experiments with a wide range of moonshine flavours to appeal to all taste buds. Their selection of shine includes recipes such as Silver Cloud Tennessee Sour Mash Moonshine, Blueberry Muffin Moonshine, Maple Bacon Moonshine, Mark Rogers American Peach Moonshine, Pina Colada Moonshine, and many others. Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey is their signature whiskey that’s received numerous gold medals in international spirits competitions.
14. Leiper’s Fork Distillery
3381 Southall Rd, Franklin, TN 37064
Leiper’s Fork Distillery takes pride in reviving small batch production by using top-quality local ingredients. Opened in 2016, Leiper’s Fork honours the Irish and Scottish settlers who traversed through the Appalachian Mountains with their stills on their backs. The distillery recreates the timeless heritage of small-batch whiskey by using old-fashioned methods to produce the richest taste.
Old Natchez Trace White Whiskey is made from corn, rye, and malted barley while using limestone-filtered water. Colonel Hunter’s Select Barrel Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey is made by blending batches of the purest barrels. Leiper’s Fork Premium Rye and Colonel Hunter’s Single Barrel Tennessee Bourbon are cherished recipes handcrafted using the same methods as the earliest Tennessee settlers.
15. Knox Whiskey Works
516 W Jackson Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902
Knoxville’s first legal distillery, Knox Whiskey Works uses locally-grown heirloom corn to produce top-notch corn whiskey. In addition to its award-winning whiskies, Knox Whiskey Works crafts excellent gins, vodkas, and liqueurs.
Old City Heirloom Corn Whiskey is a 100% corn whiskey that’s the distillery’s signature product. The single-barrel bourbon Silver Release Bourbon Whiskey and Deals Gap Dragontail Honey Habanero Flavored Whiskey have both garnered praise. Tennessee Valley Vodka, Tennessee Tailgate Orange Flavored Vodka, and Marble City Pink Gin are all expertly crafted using 100% pure grain.
What do you think of our list? Let us know if there’s a distillery we must add on our top Tennessee distilleries list. Comment below please.
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