The word "moonshine" might conjure up images of Prohibition-era speakeasies, but spirit-making at Short Mountain Distillery is hardly a clandestine affair. Quite the opposite, in fact?owner Billy Kaufman keeps his operation a community effort. Kaufman operates the 300-acre Little Short Mountain Farm, and a few years ago it inspired a thought: why not use his land to make moonshine? After all, a notorious moonshiner or two did use the farm's caves for just such a purpose in the past. And it would create jobs, support local farmers, and make for some tasty cocktails, all while keeping the revenue local. Kaufman's friends and neighbors agreed, and in 2010, they voted to allow the construction of Short Mountain Distillery.
Today, Short Mountain Distillery continues to champion Tennessee traditions by using the farm's corn and mill to create 105 proof, authentic moonshine in two varieties: classic Short Mountain Moonshine and Apple Pie Moonshine. Their production is still a community project, and if there's any doubt, all you need to do is stop by the distillery, where the staff welcomes visitors with open arms, or at the very least open tours. They can even suggest how to make a mean moonshine cocktail. Even if a person can't make an on-site trip, he or she can still find Short Mountain's potables in stores across Tennessee, Georgia, and Los Angeles.
For Blair Butler and Clayton Cutler, moonshine was just the beginning. When the pair opened Tenn South Distillery in 2011, their goal was to craft the age-old Tennessee spirit in small batches based on traditional methods. Once All Purpose Shine hit shelves, the duo's goals expanded. That's when Blair and Clayton began crafting oak-barrel-aged whiskey, vodka, and gin. Additionally, the pair homebrews flavored moonshines, perfect for mixing into drinks or adding extra shine to already brilliant patent-leather boots. Open throughout the week, the brothers-in-law invite visitors to check out the process and taste the final results during tours and tastings.