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The Ultimate Guide to The Best Distilleries in Tennessee

Few things are as synonymous with the Volunteer State as distilleries in Tennessee.

As it turns out, we have the ideal climate and terrain, in addition to abundant water — important ingredients for whiskey production.

Not only that, but the mountains, hollers, and gorges provided plenty of hiding places for bootlegging back in the Prohibition days.

Whiskey Barrels outside of Leiper's Fork Distillery near Franklin, TN
Whiskey Barrels at Leiper’s Fork Distillery

Today, Tennessee’s rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes create a haven for whiskey enthusiasts. The thriving tradition of distilling lives on, and touring distilleries in Tennessee offers a unique glimpse into the (now-legal) craftsmanship.

In this guide, we’ll navigate you through some of Tennessee’s best distilleries, including those that make spirits such as Tennessee moonshine, Tennessee whiskey, gin, vodka, and more!

With over 60 across the state, each one offers distinct flavors and processes, including unique experiences, guided tours, and tastings.

12+ Best Distilleries in Tennessee

Tennessee Whiskey Trail

Before we dive into the individual distilleries, we want to mention the Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

This “passport” features about 30 distilleries statewide.

It’s a fun, unique way to discover some of the best distilleries in Tennessee. And, most importantly, some you would never have tried.

First, get a passport, whether you opt for a digital version or a physical copy. Then, map out a route to visit as many distilleries as you’d like.

As you visit distilleries, you’ll collect passport stamps. Once you complete the entire trail (don’t worry, there’s no time limit!), submit your passport to receive some fun prizes!

Distilleries in West Tennessee

1. Old Dominick Distillery – Memphis

  • Location: 305 S Front St (downtown)
  • Hours: Sun-Wed 12pm–7pm, Thurs 12pm–9pm, Fri & Sat 12pm–10pm
sign of Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis Tennessee with giant Rooster
Credit: Old Dominick Distillery

Situated in the heart of Memphis, Old Dominick Distillery is a prominent player among distilleries in Tennessee. It occupies a historic building dating back to 1887, and the distillery’s signature spirit, the Original Toddy, goes back even further than that.

That very spirit is one of the main things Old Dominick is renowned for. It’s described as “a bourbon-based cordial with fruity overtones,” and it’s still a best-seller today.

Tour the 140-plus-year-old building every day of the week, during which you can see how Old Dominick makes its coveted spirits.

Tours end with a guided tasting of several spirits. When you’re finished, you can also walk over to the bar in the adjacent room and order a wide variety of cocktails.

Don’t miss the merch shop, selling bottles of liquor as well as items with the signature Dominicker rooster.

More Things to Do in West Tennessee:

Distilleries in Middle Tennessee

2. Jack Daniel’s Distillery – Lynchburg

  • Location: 280 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg
  • Hours: Tours offered daily from 9am–4:30pm
Jack Daniels bourbon bottle with broubon neat in front of a fireplace at Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg
Credit: Jack Daniels Distillery

Arguably the most famous of all distilleries in Tennessee, Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg is an icon.

Ironically situated in a dry county (it’s legal to distill, but not sell liquor), this renowned distillery stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Tennessee whiskey.

It’s been in the same location since 1884, and it’s also the oldest registered distillery in the country!

For first-timers, any one of the distillery tours offers an engaging look into the history of Jack Daniel’s. Except for major holidays, tours are offered daily. You can also book tours from many major cities, including Nashville and Chattanooga.

Depending on which tour you choose, you may get to see the natural cave spring that serves as the whiskey’s water source. Or, you may get to witness the charcoal mellowing process that sets Jack Daniel’s apart (and is responsible for many Tennessee whiskey regulations still in place today!).

Because Lynchburg is a dry county, you can’t purchase whiskey on-site. However, you can stock up in the adjacent town, one of our favorite small towns in the state.

3. Leiper’s Fork Distillery — Franklin

  • Location: 3381 Southall Rd Franklin, TN
  • Hours: Mon Closed, Tues-Thurs 10:30am-5pm, Fri-Sunday 10:30am-6pm
Leiper's Fork Copper Still in the distillery at Leiper's Fork Distillery near Franklin TN
Leiper’s Fork Copper Still

Leiper’s Fork Distillery surprised us, as they are one of the smaller distilleries in Tennessee. However, their tour was one of the most detailed we have been to (we’ve toured many other distilleries in Tennessee and on the bourbon trail in KY as well).

Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, and we also had a couple of guests who were especially cute, including a cat named Hemingway, who is a “polydactyl cat”, meaning he has 6 toes!

We did not have a reservation for the tour and were able to participate in the tour and tasting as well.

After the tour, we stayed for a cocktail on the outdoor patio before taking a leisurely drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway — one of our favorite things to do in Franklin.

4. Prichard’s Distillery – Kelso

  • Location: 11 Kelso-Smithland Rd, Kelso
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 9am–4pm, Sat 9am–3pm, closed Sundays
bottles of different chocolate flavored liquors at prichards distillery in tennessee
Credit: Prichard’s Distillery

A “younger” distillery, Prichard’s Distillery was founded in 1997. Interestingly though, it was the first legal distillery in Tennessee to open in 50 years at the time.

This is a smaller, no-frills distillery, but has some very unique offerings. Here, you’ll definitely want to try the spiced rum and chocolate liqueurs — something a bit different from many other distilleries in Tennessee.

Tours and tastings are free, and the intimate setting allows you to witness the meticulous process that goes into Prichard’s award-winning spirits. Tastings include four spirits.

Prichard’s is in a fairly remote location in south-central Tennessee (1.5 hours west of Chattanooga and 45 minutes north of Huntsville, Alabama). However, it’s extremely RV-friendly and is even a registered Harvest Hosts location. So, it makes the perfect road trip stop!

5. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery – Nashville

  • Location: 1414 Clinton St, Nashville 37203 (Marathon Village)
  • Hours: Mon-Tues & Thurs 11am–6pm, Wed 11am–10pm, Fri & Sat 11am–7pm, Sun 10am–6pm
person holding a bottle of hand made sour mash whiskey from green brier distillery in Nashville TN
Credit: Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery

Just a few minutes from downtown Nashville, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery revives a pre-Prohibition family legacy dating back to the 1800s.

This distillery has quite the history. It started on a ship in 1850, and a woman ran it long before women could legally vote. Today, two brothers run it, fourth-generation descendants of the founder.

Nelson’s Green Brier offers daily tours, as well as premium experiences on the weekends. Standard tours include a walk-through of the onsite production facility, plus a tasting of four spirits. The caramel pecan liqueur is a highlight!

The premium experiences change monthly and seasonally, and they almost always sell out. For example, there’s an annual Valentine’s Day whiskey pairing with sweets and light bites.

In addition, the distillery has an onsite restaurant and a mercantile shop. The restaurant serves lunch on Wednesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday mornings.

6. Tennessee Legend – Multiple Locations

  • Locations: Nashville (Marathon Village, just down the street from Nelson’s Green Brier), Cookeville, and Sevierville
  • Hours: Vary based on location, but all are open seven days a week
man holding a bottle of white lightning moonshine from tennessee legend distillery on the ground with fall foliage
Credit: Tennessee Legend Distillery Cookeville FB Page

Like many other distilleries in Tennessee, Tennessee Legend started in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was born out of the area’s rich history and local legend, which is where the name comes from.

Tennessee Legend stands out for having a larger-than-average offering. In addition to traditional whiskey and moonshine, it offers a full line of spirits and cream liqueur ( AKA “Tennessee sippin’ cream”).

Although this distillery doesn’t offer tours, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the production process at all four locations. Best of all, they all offer free samples, served up by bartenders.

Try a few and learn about how to combine flavors to create new ones, then buy a bottle (or two!) of your favorite.

7. Corsair Distillery – Nashville

  • Locations: Marathon Village tap room, plus Distillery Headquarters in Wedgewood-Houston
  • Hours: Six days a week 12pm–7pm, closed Tuesdays
A cat sitting in front of Corsair bottles of liquor at corsair distillery
Pizza (the cat) at Corsair Distillery / Credit: Corsair Distillery

Corsair is one of the most awarded distilleries in Tennessee, with over 450 individual medals.

At the taproom, you can take walking distillery tours, which are followed by a tasting of five spirits.

Alternatively, you can also enjoy a guided-tasting flight without a tour. This location operates almost like some breweries in Nashville, serving craft beer and artisan pizzas in addition to distilled spirits.

Over at Headquarters, Corsair also offers tours, in addition to craft cocktail classes. 45-minute tours here include the onsite bottling line, barrel warehouse, and six tastings.

The cocktail creation classes all have a theme, and they include light snacks. HQ also has a gift shop and great outdoor spaces with yard games.

Fun fact: even with all the fabulous bars and restaurants in Nashville, Corsair is consistently voted one of the best places to grab a drink!

8. Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. (George Dickel Distillery) – Tullahoma

  • Location: 1950 Cascade Hollow Rd, Tullahoma (about 25 minutes from Jack Daniel’s)
  • Hours: Sun 11:30am–4pm, Mon & Thurs-Sat 9:30am–4pm, closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays
George Dickel bottled in bond bottle and glass
Credit: George Dickel Whisky

Cascade Hollow may not sound familiar, but George Dickel certainly should…even if you’re not much of a drinker.

Here, it’s all about the bourbon. And perhaps even more so than other distilleries in Tennessee, there’s a tremendous focus on tradition.

George Dickel himself quickly earned a reputation for making unbelievably mellow, smooth spirits. That’s where the catch phrase “mellow as moonlight” comes from.

One of the traditions Cascade Hollow still follows today is keeping its spirits chilled to 40 degrees before filtering. This is fairly unusual, and you’ll feel the chill when you tour the facility!

Choose from four tasting and tour options, including one where you can actually have a face-to-face Q&A with the distiller.

Because of this distillery’s popularity, we strongly recommend booking your tour as early as possible as they almost always sell out! Tastings are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so you can be a bit more casual about that if you’re more into the samples (it’s a fabulous tour, though!).

Distilleries in East Tennessee

9. Lost State Distillery — Bristol

  • Location: 200 State Street, Bristol
  • Hours: Wed – Saturday 12pm – 5pm
Bottles of whiskey and bourbon at Lost State Distilling in Bristol TN/VA.
Lost State Distilling Co. in Bristol

If you find yourself in the Tri-Cities of Tennessee, we recommend that you visit Lost State Distillery in Bristol, TN.

This distillery is family-owned, producing small batches of Gin, Rum, and Whiskey, as well as canned cocktails.

They were also voted Best New Craft Distillery in 2020 by USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards.

Since you’ll be in town, check out other fun things to do in Bristol including the best breweries and places to eat.

10. Chattanooga Whiskey – Chattanooga

  • Location: Experimental Distillery, 1439 Market St, Chattanooga
  • Hours: Mon-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm
inside of the Chattanooga whisky tasting bar
Credit: Chattanooga Whiskey

Chattanooga Whiskey was the first distillery to craft whiskey in Chattanooga in over 100 years!

This distillery has two locations: the Experimental Distillery and the Riverfront Distillery. The Experimental Distillery is open to the public for tastings, guided tours, and a retail shop. The Riverfront Distillery is NOT open to the public at this time and serves at the production site for their signature Tennessee High Malt bourbon whiskey.

Tours are approximately an hour long which includes a whiskey flight tasting of their latest creations. Book your tour online here.

11. Ole Smoky – Multiple Locations

  • Locations: Gatlinburg (‘The Holler’ and ‘The Barrelhouse,’ both on the Parkway), The Island in Pigeon Forge, and Nashville (6th & Peabody)
  • Hours: Vary based on location, but all are open seven days a week
ole smoky moonshine pickle moonshine in gatlinburg tn
Pickle Moonshine at Ole Smoky Moonshine

You can’t even think about Tennessee moonshine without someone mentioning Ole Smoky. As one of the biggest, most well-known distilleries in the state, Ole Smoky’s claim to fame is its distinct moonshine, crafted in traditional copper stills.

The mind-boggling range of flavors perfectly captures the spirit of the Smoky Mountains, and there’s truly something for everyone.

Apple Pie and Blackberry ‘shines are particularly popular. However, one of our favorites is the pickle moonshine!

Each one of the distilleries has a lively atmosphere, although they all have very distinct vibes, too.

  • Pigeon Forge – Fun, family-friendly distillery in The Island with live music almost every day and tastings, but no tours (head to The Holler in nearby Gatlinburg for tours)
  • Gatlinburg ‘The Holler’ – Holding the honor of being America’s most visited distillery, this location offers tastings and tours that include a tasting of 13 samples, plus live bluegrass music
  • Gatlinburg ‘The Barrelhouse’ – Don’t overlook Ole Smoky’s whiskey offerings at this kid- and pet-friendly distillery offering tastings (but no tours)
  • Nashville – Joint venture with YeeHaw Brewing Company, huge outdoor beer garden and yard games, live music, plus tours and tastings daily

12. Old Forge Distillery – Pigeon Forge

  • Location: 170 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge
  • Hours: Seven days a week 10am–8pm
cocktails of all varieties sitting on a table at ole forge distillery in front of a "whiskey wonderland" sign
Credit: Ole Forge Distillery

Nestled at the base of the Great Smokies in Pigeon Forge, Old Forge Distillery still makes spirits the old-fashioned Appalachian way.

As its name implies, an old iron forge and the Old Mill play into the distillery’s history. It’s also shaped the way they still do things today, stone-grinding grains and using fresh mountain spring water.

The onsite Old Mill was built in 1830 and it’s still used today to power a gristmill, using water from the Little Pigeon River.

In 1975, the Old Mill earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and today, Old Forge Distillery is one of the country’s oldest continuously operating distilleries.

Anyone who’s spent time in Appalachia will recognize many of the traditional Old Mill moonshine flavors. For example, you’ll find French Toast, Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cream, Bananas Foster, and Peach.

Although Old Forge doesn’t offer guided tours, you’ll get a glimpse of the stills doing their thing. You can also sample anything you’d like and, even better, the bartenders are happy to make you a cocktail from any sample you enjoy.

13. Sugarlands Distilling Company – Gatlinburg

  • Location: 805 Parkway, Gatlinburg
  • Hours: Seven days a week 10am–10:30pm
people tasting moonshine standing around the bar at sugarlands distilling company in gatlinburg tn
Credit: Sugarlands Distilling Company

Right on the main parkway in Gatlinburg, tucked in among the restaurants and hotels, you’ll find Sugarlands Distilling Company. This distillery is best known for its huge range of award-winning flavored moonshine.

Sugarlands offers three tasting and tour experiences. One is strictly for moonshine and includes an impressive 12 flavors for just $5. These change daily, and the distillery posts that day’s offerings on a sign.

There’s also a Blended Cocktails Tour, which includes a private 30-minute tour and two hand-crafted cocktails. And if you’re more of a whiskey person, the Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey Tasting is for you.

A whiskey expert not only lets you sample this award-winning whiskey, but also teaches you some tips on nosing and tasting whiskey.

Sugarlands’ bar and bartenders (“tastemakers”) are notoriously some of the most fun and lively of all distilleries in Tennessee. So, consider heading to the back porch cocktail bar after your tasting. This is the only place you can try the famous Maple Bacon Moonshine Bloody Mary!

Have you been to any of these distilleries in Tennessee? And what did you think? Let us know in the comment below!