There is just one piece of equipment that stands between the Tennessee Stillhouse and Chattanooga’s first legally made whiskey since Prohibition.
After months of work on the micro-distillery at 1439 Market St. and years of work to change a law that prohibited whiskey distilling here, the Tennessee Stillhouse, home to Chattanooga Whiskey, is slated for a grand opening March 24.
“It’s going to be a chance to see the micro-distillery, meet the staff, sample the product and enjoy some refreshments,” Mia Littlejohn, marketing strategist for Chattanooga Whiskey, said.
The road to distilling
The road has been long and not without missteps. Leaders initially had their sights set on a much bigger downtown distillery. Click here to read background on that.
“The previous location had its challenges from a logistical and structural [standpoint],” head distiller Grant McCracken said. “[Leaders] thought it was good to take this opportunity to get whiskey produced and start coming up with concepts, formulas and recipes.”
And one of the co-founders of Chattanooga Whiskey resigned last year.
A recent filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission provides insight into what co-founder Tim Piersant called an “internal restructure.”
“The investment of $500,000 reported by the SEC is in regards to an internal restructure,” he said via email. “There was no additional outside investment, and we have no plans for additional investors.”
The road ahead
Leaders are looking forward to being a part of history. They are looking forward to educating the public.
“We are an education facility; we are not a bar,” Littlejohn said. “We will be showcasing the entire experience of how it’s made and the history of whiskey in Chattanooga. There will be a little intro to the art of tasting whiskey and an opportunity to taste a whiskey cocktail.”
McCracken has a long list of experience in the industry. He was head brewer at Boston Beer Co., which makes Samuel Adams, and he is passionate about the distilling process and the Chattanooga Whiskey products.
Click here for a more in-depth look at the whiskey making process, which McCracken recently described to Nooga.com.
There will be a label on new products that says “bottled in Chattanooga.” Initially, McCracken said that a week of distilling will probably fill a 53-gallon barrel.
Visitors will be able to taste Chattanooga Whiskey’s 1816 products, which were made in Indiana, and they will also be able to taste what comes off the still before it’s aged in barrels.
“It’s unaged with a harder profile, but that doesn’t mean it’s not really interesting and still flavorful,” McCracken said.
Tours of the facility will start on the hour, officials said. A tour group is between 15 and 20 people.
The Market Street location has an outdoor area behind the distillery, which will be used for events.
The business’ capacity is about 100 people, or 150 if they open the outdoors part, Littlejohn said.
“It’s a great event space, and we will be renting it for private events,” she said.
Tourism and collaborations
Leaders expect a mix of Chattanooga residents and tourists, and being located across from the Chattanooga Choo-Choo should help draw in visitors, they said.
“You’ll see tour buses of people on their way to Jack Daniel’s,” McCracken said. “It’s a good way to pregame here or just get familiar with a process on an intimate scale, and then go to a larger place and see what the differences are.”
The Hot Chocolatier, which is next door to the distillery, uses the whiskey to make truffles, Littlejohn said.
And they’ve also collaborated with another local business, Pure Sodaworks, on mixing syrups that consumers can take home to make their own drinks.
“We are the first stop on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, and we’ve had a hugely supportive response from the restaurant and bar community,” Littlejohn said.
Disclaimer: Nooga.com‘s parent company is Lamp Post Group, which has a business relationship with Tennessee Stillhouse. Editorial decisions for this publication are made independently of Lamp Post and Tennessee Stillhouse.