Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are world famous for their moonshine! For the uninitiated, “moonshine” is unaged corn whiskey that was traditionally made by the light of the moon. White lightnin’ was originally distilled under the cover of darkness in order to avoid attention from the authorities. In 2009, a change in state law brought moonshine out of the shadows and allowed a number of distilleries to open in East Tennessee. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Timber Tops Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to six of the best distilleries in Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains.
1. Old Forge Distillery
The Old Forge Distillery has deep ties to Pigeon Forge’s past. Located next to The Old Mill, the distillery draws inspiration from the iron forge that once stood on the banks of the Little Pigeon River (which gave the town of Pigeon Forge its name). The Old Forge Distillery uses The Old Mill to grind all of the grain for its whiskey. In fact, the distillery’s signature product, 1830 Original Unaged Corn Moonshine, references the year that the historic grist mill was constructed. In addition to its award-winning moonshine, the distillery also offers bourbon, rum, vodka, cream liqueur, and even more spirits.
Tasting Notes: Samples are free at the Old Forge Distillery! Popular moonshine flavors include Oatmeal Cookie, French Toast, and Vanilla Bean.
2. Ole Smoky Moonshine
The Ole Smoky brand manages three of the best distilleries in Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains. At The Island in Pigeon Forge, you will find the Ole Smoky Barn, a beautiful 6,000 square foot distillery where you can try some shine and listen to free country and bluegrass music. Visitors to downtown Gatlinburg can stop by the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler, the brand’s flagship location. The Holler is the most visited distillery in America! Downtown Gatlinburg is also home to the Ole Smoky Barrelhouse, which distills whiskey that is aged in white oak barrels (rather than unaged moonshine).
Tasting Notes: Samples at the Ole Smoky locations cost $5 per person. However, participants receive a $5 coupon that can be applied to any purchase made in the distillery’s gift shop. Popular flavors include Apple Pie, Butter Pecan, and Blue Flame.
3. Doc Collier Moonshine
Doc Collier Moonshine is named after a local moonshiner who invented a wildly popular whiskey recipe back in the day. This fantastic distillery boasts a charming mercantile appearance that is reminiscent of an old country store. Doc Collier’s friendly staff members are always happy to recommend a flavor or tell you a little about the distilling process.
Tasting Notes: Doc Collier charges a $5 tasting fee, but participants receive a $5 coupon in return. Some of the most-buzzed-about moonshine flavors include Root Beer Float, Sweet Tea, and Strawberry Kiwi.
4. Sugarlands Distilling Co.
Visiting Sugarlands Distilling Co. is always a blast! This great distillery frequently hosts free live music from talented local bands and touring acts. Of course, the moonshine itself is the main attraction. Sugarlands partners with the stars of the Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners Legends to bring their time-tested recipes to the masses. Visitors to the distillery will have the chance to sign up for a variety of special hands-on tours and workshops.
Tasting Notes: Like the rest of the distilleries in Gatlinburg, Sugarlands charges $5 for tastings and gives out $5 coupons in return. Standout flavors include Electric Orange, Maple Bacon, and Apple Pie.
5. Tennessee Legend Distillery
Tennessee Legend Distillery may not be flashy, but it has some of the best quality spirits in the Smokies. Guests will have the chance to sample a wonderful selection of moonshine, traditional whiskey, cream liqueur, and vodka.
Tasting Notes: Tennessee Legend Distillery offers free tastings! Popular flavors include Salted Caramel, Orange Creamsicle, and Peach.
6. Thunder Road Distillery
Thunder Road Distillery takes its name from an infamous route that moonshiners frequented during Prohibition (and the related Thunder Road film starring Robert Mitchum). The distillery has built a loyal following for its moonshine, whiskey, rum, rye, gin, vodka, and alcohol-infused fruits.
Tasting Notes: Samples are free at Thunder Road Distillery! Some of our favorite varieties include Watermelon, Blackberry, and Mango.
Where to Stay in Pigeon Forge
When you stay with Timber Tops Cabin Rentals, you will be near all of these awesome distilleries in Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 15 bedroom lodges, we are sure to have the perfect property for your escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge!