Come get your moonshine here!” – It’s an uncommon phrase these days, but soon it will heard in Gatlinburg with the opening of the Ole Smoky Distillery in Ole Smoky Holler at 903 Parkway. And it’s all legal by the way.
The distillery’s grand opening celebration will take place Friday, July 2 and will offer free samples of moonshine to adults over 21, moonshine for sale and free tours.
Aside from the actual ‘shine, Ole Smoky Distillery will offer a number of moonshine products including original unaged corn whiskey moonshine, sweet tea moonshine, apple pie moonshine, and peach moonshine. During the holiday season, moonshine cherries will be available for purchase.
The Ole Smoky recipes are the end result of years of perfected work and the experience of local families who have made mountain moonshine for over a century. Dave Pickerell, who served as master distiller at Maker’s Mark for over 15 years, assisted in the refinement of the Ole Smoky recipes in order to ensure a superior, mountain-made moonshine.
An authentic working moonshine still is the highlight of the distillery tour. Here, visitors learn about the science of the distilling process as well as the history and lore of moonshining in the Smokies.
As visitors will see, Ole Smoky 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 the hard economic times of the early 20th century.
“Moonshine played an integral role in the daily lives of families in this region,” Baker said. “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.”
Ole 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.