by TJ Anderson
If you’re a whiskey lover in Middle Tennessee, here’s an event you definitely don’t want to skip: the Nashville Whiskey Festival
, a multi-date October celebration hosted at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
On October 9, the focus is on scotch; October 10 gives us a chance to taste highly rare whiskeys and bourbons; and Saturday, Oct. 11 brings the full Grand Tasting event, with 60-plus producers of spirits pouring their creations (from scotch to bourbon and rye) and sharing details about their art alongside live music, food, a cigar bar and other draws. Ticket costs
vary by day, but Saturday’s main event runs $100 to $150 per person.
That event got me thinking about how much the local distillery landscape has changed in recent years — just like Nashville craft beer culture
(and nearby) distillery culture is growing steadily, with more growth on the horizon. In case you haven’t met our local distillers, here’s a quick roundup to give you a peek.
Corsair launched in 2010, taking over the Marathon Village space that formerly housed Yazoo Brewing. These days, they’re producing a mix of commonly loved spirits (artisan gin, spiced rum) and less conventional ones (pumpkin spice moonshine, quinoa whiskey). If you haven’t tried Corsair’s offerings and would like to, the distillery is open for tours and tastings.
Another growing Nashville name, Collier and McKeel crafts four main offerings: small barrel-aged Tennessee Whiskey; unaged but charcoal-mellowed White Dog white whiskey; Fiery Gizzard cinnamon whiskey; and Snowy Creek vodka. You can snag these in bars/restaurants and shops all over town, from Red Pony
to Holland House
in East Nashville
A rebooted Nashville family business — brothers Andy Nelson and Charlie Nelson brought their great-great-great grandfather Charles Nelson’s brand back after 100 years — Nelson's Green Brier Distillery today produces high-rye Belle Meade Bourbon, based on their forebear’s recipe.
Based in Historic West Town
(a.k.a. The Nations
), the SPEAKeasy folks do a lot in their artisan distillery, from private manufacturing to bottling and labeling. They also produced a flagship brand, Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream
, “a secret formula of pure Tennessee Whiskey, real dairy cream and more than 30 all-natural flavors” that’s particularly friendly with coffee.
We still have a little while before we’ll get to taste what they’re doing over at Nashville Craft Distillery — they’re still working on building out their new Wedgewood-Houston
space, where former DNA lab operations director Bruce Boeko will be producing whiskey, brandy and more “with a focus on local and regional ingredients and resources.”
Owner Heath Clark leads this new Williamson County
distillery, which’ll be sharing hand-crafted whiskey and gin made in Thompson’s Station
, starting with un-aged whiskey, with aged bourbon to follow in a few years.
Have any favorites in this mix? Any others I should know about?
Also, if you’re new to town and are looking for a new home that gives you easy access to exploring Nashville’s cocktail culture, I’d love to help. Reach out
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