The ultimate test of Southern-ness is to ask a person to name their preferred drink. If their answer is anything other than “sweet tea,” “moonshine,” or “whiskey,” then bless your heart — you’ve got a Yankee on your hands. Of course, we like to tease Yankees and non-Southern folk, but the truth is we’re just excited to share the joy of Southern living. Come and take a distillery tour to experience it for yourself! In addition to the following five whiskey and moonshine distilleries, we’ll recommend a few other things to do and places to stay that are bound to “raise your spirits.”
With a name honoring the bygone hardworking railroad men and an atmosphere reminiscent of Grand Central Station, Junction 35 Spirits pairs rich local tradition with master distilling methods. Their diverse offering of bourbon, moonshine, rum, rye whiskey, vodka and gin pleases palates through tastings and specialty cocktails. Pair your antidote of choice with a bite of slow-cooked BBQ and farm-raised burgers for a bona fide Southern experience. You’ll definitely want to purchase a bottle or two as souvenirs before you leave. Junction 35 Spirits ships anywhere in the U.S., giving you a little something to look forward to at the end of your stay in Pigeon Forge.
A Tennessean liquor company that gives back to its local community, Sugarlands Distilling Company is known as Gatlinburg’s paradigm of charitable giving and events. Their downtown barn-house location was established in March 2014, but their youth does not prevent them from upholding the iconic standards that make the Sugarlands area known as “moonshiners’ paradise.” You won’t want to miss out on exploring the stillhouse, learning the art and science of distilling, tasting delectable cocktails, and participating in a hands-on opportunity making an original batch of Sugarlands moonshine! Distillery tours are currently unavailable, but be sure to check back in the coming months.
Make a pit stop at Smith Creek Moonshine after a leisurely afternoon of shopping at the Tanger Outlets. The rustic décor of the bar impeccably complements moonshine-sippin’ as you taste their twelve different flavors. Their selection ranges from time-honored flavors like straight, apple pie, peach, and sweet tea, to funky and experimental flavors like chocolate silk, salted caramel, butter cake, and orange cream. Don’t forget to check out their retail section to grab a few mason-jarred moonshines to-go, as well as apparel, sauces, dry rubs, and other souvenirs.
Ole Smoky Distilleries are a must for both whiskey connoisseurs and moonshine aficionados alike. Ole Smoky Whiskey has 16 collectible whiskey varieties from 35 to 100 proof that will keep your taste buds piqued and your home warm through the cold winter months. Keep it simple with a bottle each of their straight bourbon whiskey and blended whiskey; or get outside your comfort zone with their sippable mango habanero, salty watermelon, root beer, or peanut butter whiskies. Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery also stocks a bomb moonshine collection with 21 eccentric flavors, such as white chocolate strawberry cream, mountain java, cucumber mojito, pumpkin pie and blue flame. Unlike some of their competitors, they even batch moonshine-jarred cherries, peaches, and pickles, to zest and electrify your next cocktail hour.
This family-owned Sevierville distillery has been perfecting their craft since 2015. At Tennessee Legend Distillery, expect to find an intriguing assortment of cream liqueurs from crème brulée to peppermint mocha to blueberries and cream. Between eight exciting whiskey varieties and eight classic and fruity moonshine flavors, you’re guaranteed to discover your new favorite spirit. Soak your taste buds in a warm hot toddy made with smoked apple whiskey during the winter months, or add a daring dash of coffee moonshine to your morning brew to make the weekend feel like a special occasion. When your stockpile runs dry a few months from now, check out Tennessee Legend Distillery’s online store to order a new shipment and see if your chosen spirit is on sale.
Moonshine and whiskey aren’t the only ways to get a taste of the Great Smoky Mountains! With a plethora of outdoor adventures, restaurants, shops, and luxurious places to stay in the area, your enjoyment doesn’t have to end at the distillery exit. Check out the following exhilarating things to do and breathtaking places to stay to round out your next vacation in the Smokies.
Only those with a tough skin, a dastardly sense of humor, and a beastly appetite will weather Dick’s Last Resort. Named for the man and the legend himself, this 1985-established restaurant was indeed Dick’s only option after a lifetime of partying, traveling, divorcing, and politically incorrect joke-making. Everything on their menu, from American fare to Southern-style seafood, from moonshine cocktails to oversized margaritas, comes with a hefty side of sarcasm from your server. Still think you can handle this smoke? Wait till you see the personalized jab they write about you on your gigantic paper hat!
When you stay at River Lodge Suites, Sanctuary Villas, or Stone Hill Lodge, you get free access to the waterparks at Wilderness at the Smokies. A multifaceted adventure destination, Wilderness at the Smokies encompasses three rip-roaring and luxurious waterparks, complete with tube slides, thrilling raft rides, water playgrounds, and indoor and outdoor pools for diverse ages. When it’s time to dry off, it doesn’t have to be time to turn off! Adventure Forest keeps the party going at the treetop ropes course, climbing den, mega arcade, mini-golf courses, and many more family fun activities.
Appropriately named, Old Creek Lodge rests along the edge of a gorgeous bubbling creek within view of your private balcony. This Gatlinburg getaway features rustic décor, including rich hardwood floors, hickory furniture and leather chairs. Their in-suite jacuzzi tubs, heated outdoor pool, free breakfast and WiFi are just a few of their unbeatable amenities. Above all, Old Creek Lodge is located within walking distance of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding trolley lines. A stone’s throw away from Ole Smoky Whiskey and Sugarlands Distilling Company, you won’t need to worry about driving after your distillery tour when you stay at Old Creek Lodge.
A family-owned business since 1981, Hidden Mountain Resort is touted as the original cabin lodge in the Smoky Mountains area. Their East location is ideal for vacationers preferring proximity to the adventure and a neighborly atmosphere, while their West location is perfect for romantic escapees desiring beautiful views to set the mood. Hidden Mountain Resort accommodates couples, families, large groups, and wedding parties with an impressive range of one- to fourteen-bedroom cabins. While some cabins come with a private pool, hot tub, and game table, all cabins have access to top-notch amenities like swimming pools, fishing ponds, picnic areas, and fully furnished kitchens.
There is without a doubt no flavor like home. Sometimes, you can’t help but crave that distinct quality and texture, achieved only through years of mastery in the fine art of Southern whiskey and moonshine distillation. When you sample the nationally-renowned distilleries of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, listen for that sudden “aha!” moment in your heart. It doesn’t require being Southern to unlock that warm sense of priceless familiarity.
Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.
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