Whiskey Distilleries, Fun Day Trips

Middle Tennessee Distillery Tours And Tastings Make Great Gifts For Bourbon Lovers

Middle Tennessee has a long history of distilling spirits; both illegal and legal. Plenty of legal choices exist today. In fact, 14 distilleries are within driving distance of Brentwood and are part of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. 

Some enjoy contemplating the differences between whiskey and bourbon. All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon. It sounds more complicated than it is. 

Bourbon must be made in the United States, have a minimum of 51 percent corn, be aged in new, charred American white oak barrels, be bottled at no less than 80 proof, with nothing added besides water. Rye and Scotch are also whiskeys, and are made with specific ingredients, giving them their unique taste. Interestingly, new whiskey is clear prior to aging. The distinctive tint of a whiskey, bourbon, rye, and scotch is derived from the aging process.

Grab a carload of whiskey and bourbon enthusiasts and experience how these spirits are made. Chances are, they’ll let you taste them, too!

Leiper’s Fork Distillery



Located in the quaint countryside in Leiper’s Fork, owner and distiller Lee Kennedy is producing small-batch whiskey and using local ingredients, including limestone-filtered water to create their signature taste. Don’t miss their monthly “Still House Sessions,” featuring live music from top singer/songwriters. Normal operating hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday afternoons. Tours, followed by a tasting, begin at the top of every hour, with the last one at 4 p.m.

H Clark Distillery



H Clark creates hand-crafted Tennessee bourbon, gin, and black and tan whiskey. Located in Thompson’s Station, they were the first legal distillery in Williamson County in more than a century when they opened in 2014. Their products are made in the same facility where farmers used to store grain. Normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday noon to 4 p.m. Call ahead for Sunday hours. Tours are available with the last one beginning one hour before closing. 

Corsair Distillery



A couple of childhood friends tried their hand at creating bio-diesel before deciding that making whiskey was more fun and easier to market. The first distillery in Nashville, Corsair operates two locations in Nashville, with a third in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They pride themselves on using alternative grains and unusual brewing techniques, and have won numerous medals. Their products include whiskeys, gins, absinthe, rum, vodka and brandy. They’re open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday and Monday, noon to 6 p.m. Call for tour information.

Nashville Craft Distillery



Founded by a former DNA scientist, Nashville Craft Distillery opened in the spring of 2016, and focuses on using local and regional ingredients. Their small-batch products include a sorghum spirit, gin, honey liqueur, bourbon and other craft spirits. Tours are conducted Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are requested for groups of six or more.

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery



Near the heart of Nashville’s entertainment area, brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson are reclaiming family history. Their ancestor, Charles Nelson, arrived in Nashville in the 1850s and entered the grocery and whiskey business. By 1885 the distillery was selling 2 million-plus bottles. Fast forward to 2009, the brothers began recreating the family’s whiskey legacy. Products include whiskey, bourbon and liqueur. Check their website for operating hours and tour details.

Heaven’s Door



With their Nashville distillery scheduled to open in 2021, this unique brand founded by legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan has taken the bourbon world by storm. Construction is currently underway on the 160-year-old Elm Street Church near downtown Nashville. Besides the distillery, the venue will include a 360-seat music venue and restaurant. Bob's inaugural trilogy of craft whiskey features a straight bourbon, double barrel whiskey, and a straight rye whiskey. A limited-edition, 10-year straight bourbon is also available. Check the website for updates on the distillery opening and related news.

Old Glory Distilling Co.



Located near the Kentucky state line in Clarksville, Tennessee, Old Glory produces bourbon, vodka, gin, rum and moonshine (legally, of course). Although some of their whiskeys and bourbons are still aging and not yet available, this small-batch producer has plenty of other products. They were featured on national news networks in the spring of 2020 for being one of the first distilleries to produce hand sanitizer during the coronavirus pandemic. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Tours are scheduled at the top of every hour, and guests are recommended to book online.

Short Mountain Distillery



Not only is Short Mountain a distillery, it’s also a 400-acre working farm and has a restaurant. Located east of Nashville in Woodbury, Tennessee, they produce bourbon, whiskey (including an organic product), rye and various flavors of moonshine. Distillery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., with tours on Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at noon and 5 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. The restaurant features farm-to-table freshness, and is open Friday evening, Saturday for lunch and dinner, and Sunday for brunch beginning at 1 p.m. Call for tour and restaurant information. 

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