Wednesday, October 22, 2014

First legal moonshine distillery opens in Gatlinburg

The Ole Smoky Distillery is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. It is located at Old Smoky Holler in downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The Ole Smoky Distillery is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. It is located at Old Smoky Holler in downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Tennessee Moonshine will now be available legally for the fist time when Ole Smoky Distillery opens for business in Old Smoky Holler on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. The distillery is slated to open July 2, and will offer free tours, free samples of moonshine to adults over 21 and moonshine for sale.

Ole Smoky will offer a number of moonshine products, including original unaged corn whiskey moonshine, apple pie moonshine, sweet tea moonshine and peach moonshine. Also available for purchase will be moonshine cherries during the holiday season. The Ole Smoky recipes are the product of the hard work and experience of local families who have made moonshine in the mountains for over a century. Dave Pickerell, who served as the Master Distiller for Marker’s Mark for over 15 years, assisted with the refinement of the recipes in order to ensure a superior mountain-made moonshine.

A highlight of the facility is the authentic working moonshine still, where visitors will learn the science of the distilling process as well as the history and lore of moonshining in East Tennessee. Ole Smoky is the only distillery in the state dedicated to moonshine products. Proprietors Joe Baker, Tony Breeden and Cory Cottongim place a particular emphasis on celebrating their mountain heritage as well as the historical significance of the moonshine craft in sustaining families during hard economic times during the early 20th century.

“Moonshine played a integral role in the daily lives of families in this region,” said Baker. “Too often, people rely on the stereotype of a backwards old man making a cheap, dangerous product. In truth, a lot of good people made and sold moonshine in order to feed and clothe their families.”

Old Smoky is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee, and is currently one of only four distilleries operating in the state. Jack Daniels and George Dickel received their licenses before Prohibition, and Prichards Rum opened their Tennessee facility in 1999.

A shop at the distillery will sell branded items such as t-shirts, mugs and other novelties.