Whisky has deep roots in Tennessee. The climate, land, and water here are practically perfect for its production. Some of the best Tennessee distilleries are along the official TN Whiskey Trail, just a quick drive from Mt. Juliet. You can register for a digital passport at tnwhiskeytrail.com to check these, and more, off your list.
Nearest Green Distillery
Nathan "Nearest" Green is the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States. After the Civil War, he taught Jack Daniel to make Tennessee whiskey and served as the first master distiller for the Jack Daniel Distillery as a free man. The Nearest distillery sits on 323 acres with a projected $50 million build-out seeped in "history-making moments of the past" as well as "history being made in the present." The distillery is the only place to snap up the exclusive Master Blend and 1820 Single Barrel release. Learn more at unclenearest.com
George A. Dickel was already an established Nashville merchant when he entered the whisky (spelled without an "e") business. So when Cascade Hollow Distillery was founded in 1878, George Dickel bought a significant share. The distillery did an end-run around the prohibition by marketing "Cascade Whisky" as a medicinal spirit, and, in 1958, a new distillery opened down the road. In 1964, the whisky emerged as Dickel Black Label Old No. 8 and Dickel Tan Label Superior No. 12. Visit georgedickel.com for more details.
Nelson's Green Brier
Born in Germany, Charles Nelson moved to Nashville before the Civil War, eventually buying a distillery in Greenbrier, TN. By 1885, he was one of the first to market whiskey in bottles (vs. a barrel or jug), producing a massive volume for the time - 2 million. Prohibition forced closure and sale, leaving it disrepair and all but forgotten except for family lore. Then in 2009, Charles' great-great-great grandsons Andy and Charlie reopened the business exactly 100 years after it closed. The distillery is home to Nelson Bros. Whiskey and Belle Meade bourbon. Visit greenbrierdistillery.com to learn more.
Jack Daniel Distillery
Thanks to the skills and knowledge of Nathan "Nearest" Green, Jack Daniel learned the art of whiskey-making, leading to the creation of the first registered distillery within the U.S. - built alongside a prime resource: the mineral-rich Cave Spring Hollow. Jack Daniel Distillery today offers a popular visitor experience, lovely vistas, and an opportunity to enjoy the nearby town. Its most famous brands include Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack, and Sinatra Select. Visit jackdaniels.com for more information.