The Tennessee Whiskey Trail Itinerary — East
Ready to explore even more of the state? Head east on I-40 towards Knoxville, then turn south once you hit Lebanon for a scenic off-the-beaten path drive to visit an authentic watering hole, Jug Creek Distillery. The distillers here take small batch craftsmanship to a whole new level. The process of distilling, bottling and proofing is done entirely by hand using local grains and Tennessee honeycombs amid the beautiful scenery, rolling hills, and babbling creek that surrounds the property.
Drive east along Tennessee’s back-road highways for a pit stop at another small batch distillery, Short Mountain Distillery. Short Mountain is a great place to get a taste of organic Tennessee Whiskey or authentic Tennessee Moonshine along with lunch at their All-American style café serving up organic mash-fed beef burgers, fried chicken and waffles, and a one-of-a-kind moonshine brownie to top it all off.
Continue heading east toward Knoxville, the state’s third largest city behind Nashville and Memphis. Settle in near Market Square or Gay Street for a lively evening filled with music, scrumptious cuisine and a good dose of Southern hospitality. Make time to stop by the tasting room at Knox Whiskey Works near the heart of all the action in downtown Knoxville. You can sample four of their locally produced spirits, or kick back with some of their award-winning Old City Heirloom Corn Whiskey.
Just down the street, be sure to check out PostModern Distilling, an innovative, locally owned new distillery located in the historic Jackson Terminal. Specializing in spirits for the modern consumer. Crafting authentic yet edgy spirits for both experienced drinkers as well as those new to the spirits market. PostModern Distilling features an innovative tasting room and manufacturing facility on site, as yet another destination for locals and visitors to experience something new, from tastings and tours offered along with special events and activities at the nearly 4,000 square foot facility.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, try Sapphire, The Stock ‘n’ Barrel, Cru, Jig and Reel or Suttree’s, then wind down in the swanky, speakeasy-style lounge, Peter Kern Library, just off of Market Square at the Oliver Hotel.
Jug Creek Distillery
Short Mountain Distillery
Knox Whiskey Works
Keep heading east toward Pigeon Forge by way of Thunder Road, a historic route that got its nickname as part of an undercover operation to nab moonshiners illegally producing that “good old mountain dew” during prohibition. Stop by Thunder Road Distillery, a distillery that pays homage to the legendary route and the whiskey runners’ spirit that inspired its namesake.
Continue south, then take a short detour to Tennessee Legend Distillery in Sevierville. From flavorful Tennessee whiskies to smooth, classic White Lightning Moonshine, this distillery captures the legendary recipes of the mountains with its distinct flavors. Extend your road trip a bit farther by traveling east to Newport to Cocke County Moonshine Distillery, where you can get a taste of 100% authentic Tennessee moonshine spiced with home-style flavors and real fruit juice.
Your next stop is Hartford, TN for a taste of Bootleggers Distillery’s whiskey, which may just be the smallest batch distillery in the nation with its small-batch products brewed in 25-gallon stills.
Once you get to Pigeon Forge, be sure to check out the Old Forge Distillery in The Old Mill area of town. These connoisseurs of great whiskey grind their own grains and use old-fashioned methods of distilling to craft some truly remarkable spirits. Since you’re on the cusp of the Smoky Mountains, trying some of the locally crafted moonshine is a must. If you’re brave enough, try some of their 1830 Original Unaged Corn varietal. It’s distilled with pure, local Smoky Mountain spring water which yields a slightly sweeter, smooth and well-balanced finish. After a few samples, hit the historic Old Mill Restaurant and shops next door, an 1830s-era gristmill on the banks of the Little Pigeon River transformed into a unique dining and shopping destination.
Still thirsty? Head over to the The Island in Pigeon Forge, a popular destination with many choices for entertainment, dining, shopping and lodging. Right along the entrance of the Island is the 6,000-square foot Ole Smoky Barn Distillery, that includes an onsite still and a tasting bar, with live bluegrass music performing on the outdoor stage daily.
Want to stretch your legs and get some fresh air? Head to Dollywood, named for the iconic country crooner, Dolly Parton. It’s a lot like Disneyland but with a lot more twang and Southern charm. The theme park boasts gasp-worthy roller-coasters, endless shows and entertainment opportunities plus a water park to boot.
Thunder Road Distillery
Tennessee Legend Distillery
Cocke County Moonshine
Old Forge Distillery
Old Smoky Barn Distillery
If you’re ready for a little more adventure, take the short 7.5-mile trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s home to some of the most unique eateries, attractions, and distilleries around, as well as stunning mountain scenery any time of year.
Start your day at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or sail high above the treetops to the top of Crockett Mountain via the Gatlinburg Sky Lift to get a rare, 360-degree view of the breathtaking Smoky Mountains.
Take a stroll along the main parkway to soak in the eccentric sights and sounds of downtown Gatlinburg. Here you’ll find everything from Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” and “Haunted Adventure” attractions to the Guinness World Records Museum. Right along the main drag are stops at Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, famous for its crisp Apple Pie Moonshine and Ole Smoky Mountain Java Moonshine, or stop by at Ole Smoky Whiskey Distillery, with plenty of spirits to taste like its Ole Smoky Salty Caramel Whiskey; Doc Collier Moonshine, where you can sample its English mountain spring water ‘shine; and Sugarlands Distilling Company, specializing in one-of-a-kind flavors like Tickle’s Dynamite Cinnamon, Maple Bacon and Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream.
Ole Smoky Moonshine
Ole Smoky Whiskey
Doc Collier Moonshine
Sugarlands Distilling Co.
Now, put the car in drive and head southwest to Chattanooga, a beautiful city that is set along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Chattanooga is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream locale with rock climbing, hiking and white water rafting action abound. Check out some of the area’s popular attractions, including Ruby Falls, a visually stunning 145-foot underground waterfall set in an enormous cave.
Spend the afternoon shopping downtown or head to North Shore, a hip, yet historical district just north of the river. For those with a slight sweet tooth, you’ll want to check out the MoonPie General Store – a perfect stop for souvenirs for friends and family members back home!
To round out the day, head over to Stir for one of their critically acclaimed craft cocktails for happy hour. If you’re traveling with kids, Urban Stack is a great family-friendly burger joint that serves up mouthwatering fare including options like their Philly Cheese Steak Burger and North Caroline Chili Cheeseburger.
Chattanooga Whiskey Co.