When the gorgeous city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee went up in flames a couple of years ago, many were worried that the moonshine game would never be the same. However, ‘shine distillers are not a group to be kept down and they’ve proven themselves a hardy bunch by offering some killer tours of their local distilleries in the area. No visit to Gatlinburg would be complete without taking at least one awesome moonshine tour, so here are the top three in the area that you’d hate to miss out on.
Top Three in the ‘Shine Business
Tennessee has a rich history in the moonshine world and nearly everywhere you go in Gatlinburg will have some famous moonshiner story associated with the area. While the very thought of moonshine brings up the image of mountain men brewing their own liquor, the game has become legit as the legality of ‘shine changed not too long ago. Since making moonshine legal, the area has become a hotbed for tourist activity as people are clamoring to check out the fully functional and legal moonshine stills. The recipe for good shine isn’t complicated and a good belt will probably knock the wind out of you, but it’s all part of the charm of this southern tradition.
Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery –Affectionately dubbed “The Holler”, this distillery is famous for producing every flavor of ‘shine that Ole Smoky has become famous for over the past -almost-ten years. A tour of this locations lets people see the process from start to finish, including a sample of the best homegrown ‘shine $5 can buy. Ask your questions, taste some of the favorites, and take some home with you. Everyone is welcome at Ole Smoky.
Sugarlands Distilling Company –Whether you’re looking to see how the process works or if you’d actually like to join in, Sugarlands has a tour for you. From their cocktail blending tour, you’ll learn how to make two fantastic drinks using their ‘shine. However, if you’re looking to jump in an get your hands dirty, drop $250 you won’t regret and take the Distiller for the Day tour. You’ll be grinding corn, making mash, and proofing your own moonshine before the day is done and as a special treat, lunch is on them!
Old Forge Distillery –Boasting hand forged Tennessee spirits, old forge allows people to sample their wares on a daily basis and they offer some funky flavors like French Toast and Coffee flavored moonshine. The entire area is fully functional, including the Old Mill that is still used to grind grain that is then used in the artisanal shops in the Old Mill Square. Take any number of different liquors, breads, baked goods, or pottery items home with you, as you’ll find it all here.
While moonshine dates back into the early days of Americana as a way for the mountain men to avoid the hefty taxation on liquor, it’s become a bit more of a legit business in recent years. As a result, distillers are opening their doors to show the public exactly how this backwoods drink got started and why they don’t mess with perfection.