Kentucky may be known for its bourbon trail, but there’s also the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. Visitors flock to the state to see the Jack Daniel’s Distillery but there are dozens more in just about every corner of the state. Tour the facilities enjoy samples, and purchase souvenirs to take home with you. Many places are also on the Franklin Masters & Makers Passport.
How to See the Tennessee Whiskey Trail
Start by picking up an official whiskey trail passport that lets you collect stamps to win a prize. There’s also a smartphone app if that’s easier. Franklin and Nashville are ideal places to base yourself as many are within driving distance. Gatlinburg is the best spot to enjoy the moonshine distilleries.
Designate a driver if you plan on imbibing or book a spot on one of the tours that visit the breweries. Mint Julep Tours offers a number of outings from Nashville that include transportation, as does Tennessee Whiskey Tours. And if you’re looking for an event that brings them all together, check out Grains and Grits.
Distilleries in West Tennessee
Old Dominick Distillery, Memphis
The only whiskey distillery in west Tennessee, Old Dominick Distillery was created by an Italian immigrant Domenico Canale in 1866 in a Memphis warehouse. Their original product was Dominick Toddy, a bourbon-based fruit cordial.
Operations ended during Prohibition but in 2013, one of the toddy bottles was discovered and the distillery was reopened by the descendants. The company produced its first Tennessee Whiskey in 2016. They’re open for tours and tastings of their line of whiskey, gin, vodka, and the original Memphis toddy.
Distilleries in Middle Tennessee
George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, Tullahoma
While Jack is known as the first Tennessee whiskey distillery, George followed quickly on his heels. George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey started in 1878 using charcoal-filtered local water. During Prohibition, the distillery continued to operate, producing “medicinal whiskey.” They opened a new facility in 1958 and have continued to produce whiskey since then.
The Dickel distillery operates tours daily that visit the barrel room and end in the tasting room. Here you can sample the varieties of whiskey including rye and another aged in Tabasco barrels. The gift shop has no shortage of Dickel goods and bottles to take home.
H. Clark Distillery, Thompsons Station
If it weren’t for H. Clark Distillery, many of the new Tennessee distilleries might not exist. Set in a small-town former granary, they became the first legal distillery in Williamson County in over 100 years by changing the alcohol laws in the state in 2014. Since then, they’ve produced small-batch liquors including dry gin, Tennessee bourbon, and their unique black and tan whiskey.
H. Clark hosts complimentary tours on the hour daily. Tastings are offered for $10 and include samples of their entire lineup of products. Because of the size of the space, advance booking is recommended.
Jack Daniel, Lynchburg
Jack Daniel’s Distillery is the state’s most well-known distillery, dating back to 1875. In fact, the majority of the town’s residents work for the company and every bottle sold worldwide comes from the small town of Lynchburg. The most famous product is the Old No. 7 Tennessee Sippin Whiskey, but they also have honey, cinnamon, and aged varieties.
Tours are offered daily and include stops at the barrel making operations, the fire department, the spring that supplies the company’s water, and, of course, the tasting room. Despite being in a dry county, Jack Daniel’s has a loophole that allows for samples and sales.
Leiper’s Fork, Franklin
Opened in 2016, Leiper’s Fork Distillery takes its inspiration from the Scots-Irish settlers that lived in the Franklin area in the early days of the state. The distillery has a copper still and uses only the finest ingredients from the region for their whiskeys.
A 1800s cabin serves as their tasting room and gift shop. The 45-minute tours are $10 and visit the stillhouse. It ends with samples of the four types of whiskey. They also have a gift shop selling whiskey, swag, and even bread made from spent grains.
Corsair Distillery, Nashville
Named one of the top craft distillers in the country, Corsair Distillery was opened by a pair of childhood friends. They started in 2008 in Bowling Green, Kentucky but by 2010 had moved operations to Nashville. Six years later, they expanded with a second location. In addition to whiskey, they also produce gin and rum. They offer tours and tastings from both locations.
Nashville Craft Distillery, Nashville
A former DNA laboratory director founded Nashville Craft Distillery in 2016, producing craft whiskey and gin. They also have a line of sorghum spirits and a honey liqueur. The tasting room offers tours, a sample of their spirits, and a full cocktail menu incorporating the products.
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Nashville
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery namesake Charles Nelson moved from Germany to Nashville in 1850, establishing a grocery store. Due to the demand for whiskey, he started selling his own whiskey, reaching 2 million bottles by 1885. Operations ended during Prohibition and the distillery fell into disrepair.
But in 2006, Nelson’s descendants decided to bring back the family business. Tours are offered daily, but reservations are recommended on weekends. They include tastings of their bourbon and whiskey.
Old Glory Distilling Co., Clarksville
Located in the town of Clarksville, Old Glory Distilling prides itself on fine Tennessee-made spirits. The company was started by a native of the area and creates bourbon whiskey, white rum, vodka, and Tennessee moonshine.
Tours are offered daily at the top of the hour. Reservations are recommended and closed-toe shoes are required to see the production facility.
Prichard’s Distillery, Kelso
Prichard’s Distillery products are distilled in premium copper pots in their Kelso and Nashville locations, including at the Fontanel Mansion. Their rum bottles feature crooked necks like the antique bottles Master Distiller Phil Prichard saw at antique stores in New England. The distillery has rum, whiskey, and sweet liqueur. Both locations offer tours six days per week.
Short Mountain Distillery, Woodbury
Set on a 400-acre farm, Short Mountain Distillery is a small-batch distillery producing Tennessee moonshine, organic Tennessee whiskey, bourbon whiskey, and rye whiskey. They opened in 2010 after the change of laws in the state. The facility is open from Thursday to Sunday for tours and tastings. They also have an onsite restaurant.
Southern Pride Distillery, Fayetteville
Opened in 2012 using family recipes, Southern Pride Distillery uses local corn in whiskey and moonshine. There are also flavored varieties like apple, peach, blackberry, and cinnamon. Tours and tastings are $5 and run from Tuesday to Saturday. The distillery is just over the state line from Huntsville.
Tenn South Distillery, Lynnville
South of Columbia, Tenn South Distillery started when two people wanted to honor the Southern tradition of distilling while bringing it into the modern age. Incorporating the limestone-rich water, they craft whiskey, moonshine, and vodka. The distillery is open Monday to Saturday for tours and tastings.
Distilleries in East Tennessee
Chattanooga Whiskey, Chattanooga
Opened in 2015, Chattanooga Whiskey became the city’s first distillery in 100 years. A second production facility was added the next year to expand operations. The distillery is known for its Tennessee High Malt, 1816 series, and the experimental series.
The tasting room is in the Southside neighborhood of Chattanooga and reservations are recommended due to the small size. Tours include a visit to the barrel room and samples of their products.
Doc Collier, Gatlinburg
Set in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Doc Collier is perhaps the most authentic of the many area moonshine distilleries. The distillery is located in downtown Gatlinburg and uses English Mountain Spring Water from neighboring Sevierville.
Among their high-proof moonshines are the corn whiskey, “shined cherries,” peach moonshine, and moonshine brandy. The tasting room is available for tastings and product sales.
Old Forge Distillery, Pigeon Forge
Named for the forge that gave Pigeon Forge its name, Old Forge Distillery is set in a 100-year-old farm supply store. In 2014, the distillery opened the tasting room to sell their award-winning single-barrel aged bourbon, Tennessee Roots gin, rum, moonshine, and vodka.
Tours and tastings are available daily by request. Their tasting room also has products for sale.
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, Gatlinburg
Ole Smoky Moonshine is one of the state’s most successful distilleries with America’s most visited distillery at “The Holler” in Gatlinburg. It’s one of four locations, including another in Gatlinburg, one in Pigeon Forge, and in Nashville. They offer live music and other events at each and produce whiskey and moonshine. Popular flavors include unaged corn whiskey and apple pie moonshine.
Guided tours are offered on weekdays and include private tastings, a souvenir, and a discount on the gift shop.
Sugarlands Distilling Company, Gatlinburg
Opened in Gatlinburg in 2014, Sugarlands Distilling has been named one of the top distillery experiences in America. Crafting moonshine and whiskey, the company is the official moonshine of Nascar, connecting the history of moonshining and stock car racing.
They are open 364 days per year for tours of the facility and tastings of the products. Tours cost $5, which can be used as a discount on the gift shop. The cocktail kitchen incorporates Sugarlands products into drinks.
Knox Whiskey Works, Knoxville
As the name implies, Knox Whiskey Works creates corn whiskey and bourbon whiskey along with gin, vodka, and flavored liqueurs. They use artisan ingredients from around the region and were the first legal distillery in Knoxville.
The tasting room offers samples and cocktail flights with each of the flagship products. Tours are also offered from Thursday to Saturday and last around an hour. Reservations are encouraged.
Bootleggers Distillery, Hartford
Set on the Pigeon River near the North Carolina border, Bootleggers Distillery is a small batch distillery using 25-gallon pot stills. They sell moonshine and whiskey and offer tours daily for $5.
Lost State Distilling, Bristol
Perhaps the only distillery on a state line, Lost State Distilling is in the Tennessee-Virginia town of Bristol. They create small-batch spirits including gin, rum, and, of course, Tennessee whiskey. They also have a selection of straight bourbon whiskey, blended whiskey, and maple whiskey. Tours and tastings of Lost State are offered daily, which include samples of their products.
Brushy Mountain Distillery, Petros
Located in the historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, Brushy Mountain Distillery has its “End of the Line” brand of Tennessee moonshine in ten flavors.
The former maximum-security prison that held assassin James Earl Ray offers tours of the distillery as well as the prison from April to November. There’s a restaurant on-site and they also have live music.
D&S Distilling, Sevierville
Set apart from other Tennessee distilleries, D&S Distilling uses USDA organic and made-from-scratch ingredients. They produce moonshine, vodka, and rum. The tasting room offers tours, tastings, craft cocktails, and sales of their bottles.
Old Tennessee Distilling Co., Kodak
Originally opened in 2014 as Thunder Road Distilling, Old Tennessee Distilling honors the traditions of early moonshiners and saloon owners in its craft spirits. Master distillers use family recipes for their whiskey, moonshine, gin, vodka, and bourbon, each incorporating an element of Tennessee history. The tasting room is open daily for free tastings and $5 cocktails using their homemade spirits.
PostModern Spirits, Knoxville
Another Knoxville distillery, PostModern Spirits incorporates unique ingredients and botanicals in their hand-labeled bottles. Opened in 2017, they started with gin, vodka, and liqueurs before expanding into whiskey.
The tasting room is open daily for samples and cocktails as well as sales. Tours are held on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and must be booked online.
Tennessee Legend Distillery, Sevierville
Established in 2015, Tennessee Legend has expanded to two Sevierville locations, another in Nashville, and one in Cookeville. Their line of spirits includes vodka, cream liqueur, whiskey, moonshine, and rum.
Georgina Mckenzy says
My friends and I like to experience the bourbon tours because of their popularity. As you said, visitors flock to the state to see the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, but there are dozens more in just about every corner of the state. I’m excited to experience and enjoy this kind of activity.