Friday, October 20, 2023

East Tennessee History at Old Tennessee Distilling Company

Sevierville is a popular exit off Route 40, not only because it is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and feeds into Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg but because, itself, has multiple tourist attractions such as hiking, rafting, kayaking, Brass Pro, Buc-ee's, Tennessee Smokies MiLB, Harley Davidson, and, of course, Old Tennessee Distilling Company.

This distillery was first known as Thunder Road Distillery when it debuted in 2014 but rebranded to Old Tennessee Distilling Co. in Jan 2019 in order to "celebrate the culture, people, history and spirits of this great state". And during a visit make sure you take time to learn about this history. For instance, their Dumplin Creek brand of moonshine, vodka and gin honors the Treaty of Dumplin Creek: the last treaty of the State of Franklin and the Great Cherokee Nation. This treaty ceded the territory now known as East Tennessee to residents of the unrecognized proposed state that eventually returned to North Carolina. In addition, their Caldonia Fackler Johnson Rum brand celebrates the life of this former slave who became a prominent Knoxville racetrack and saloon owner. By the time of his death, he was one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the state.

Old Tennessee Distilling Company specializes in farm to bottle spirits made from "local ingenuity and produce". Their master distillers (Dwight Bearden, Adam Gratz, & Kent Merritt) use "recipes handed down through the generations to create whiskey, moonshine, gin, vodka and bourbon that honors the name “Tennessee” on every label". One of these is their Apple Brandy, distilled from Gala apples based on a recipe from a member of the Moonshiner's show, and full of bright apple flavors. For the moonshine, their Coffee was my favorite. And don't overlook their Corn Whiskey which is distilled from 100% corn mash. 

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