Sugarlands Distillery plans to offer moonshine across the nation

Sugarlands Distillery plans to offer moonshine across the nation

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By GENE PATTERSON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

GATLINBURG, TENN (WATE) - Making moonshine is a distinctly Southern Appalachian tradition that few people outside the region have ever tasted it. But that's changing as more and more "legal" distillers are entering the market place.

6 News traveled to Gatlinburg and visited Sugarlands Distillery to find out why this distinctly East Tennessee product is seeing such growth.

Brent Thompson is Director of Strategy for Sugarlands Distillery. He says their goal is not just to sell you moonshine but to sell you the idea that the best things in life, like good moonshine, are better when shared with others. Thompson says, "We know when the good stuff (moonshine) comes out, people have a way with words." At Sugarlands Distillery they like to say that there is a story in every jar.

Thompson goes on to say, "We really like what happens when people just kind of get in a circle and hang out, like you remember. I think we've gotten buried in our cell phones and forgotten what it's like to create that sense of living life."

The store offers three distinct areas for visitors to explore the moonshine experience. The sipping area where visitors of appropriate age can taste each of Sugarland's seven varieties of spirits including Butterscotch, Appalachian Apple Pie or Silver Cloud, its 100 proof flagship moonshine. The souvenir shop offers t-shirts or other Sugarland Distillery items. And the centerpiece of the business is the moonshine still where tours are offered every half hour. Thompson explained the process includes grinding the corn, fermenting it and running it through a series distillations until the final product is reached.

Thompson says their operation is expanding every month and that they can make 500 cases in a week. Their product line is available in liquor stores across the region but their ultimate goal is to be a national brand. Thompson says, "We think we have the right partners to take us there and we've got our eyes on that prize but we want to make sure we're fantastic here in the community of East Tennessee. We're never not going to be East Tennessee and we love that."

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