Born and raised in Dahlonega, Georgia, Dwight Bearden was part of a family that had been making liquor for at least four generations. Perhaps it was no surprise when he proudly started making his own, alongside his Daddy, at the wise age of six. School didn’t compare to the allure of bootlegging, and he had his first still at 17. At Old Tennessee Distilling Company, where Dwight’s first still now resides, the old-school distiller likes to make corn whiskey, moonshine, and the occasional apple brandy. After 50 years perfecting his craft inside and outside the pesky boundaries of the law, he’d love for you to stop by for a sip and a story.
Adam Gratz offers an emphatic answer when asked what the essential qualities are for a successful distillery: Passion for the product, great ingredients, and scientific know-how. He also insists it’s the ability to tell the good from the bad. That’s an ability Adam’s developed his entire life. A native Tennessean, Adam was raised on a farm in Friendsville, where he tended to the livestock and all that farms require. He went on to study business management in college, but quickly found himself in brewing and distilling. He took what he learned from both – opening a bar where he heartily shared his love for the craft with his patrons. Lucky for us, his path brought him to Old Tennessee Distilling Co, employing those three essential qualities in producing the finest moonshine and spirits.
Growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg native Kent Merritt started “sampling” some of the locally produced moonshines at about 15 years old at Freddy Fuddpucker’s German Hillbilly Inn. Grown-up Kent now has combined the palate of his youth with his eternal drive to develop and promote businesses that provide outstanding products and great customer service. A career which has spanned more than 35 years of manufacturing and business management means that Kent has the experience to oversee the behind-the-scenes operations, while his passion for product and presentation results in happy experiences for Old Tennessee customers. He's created this atmosphere by attracting a team of people who are excited to create great products and good times so that when people stop at Old Tennessee Distillery, they can’t wait to come back. The recipe for moonshine is simple: corn, sugar, yeast, and water. The secret is the pride we put into perfecting this great, time-honored tradition.
The recipe for moonshine is simple: corn, sugar, yeast and water. The secret is the pride we put into perfecting this great, time-honored tradition.
Made on-site by master distillers, Old Tennessee’s farm to bottle products are handmade and homegrown from the bounties of local fields and the fertile minds of our forebearers. We know how to respect the past, while living for the moment.
A distillery for those who don’t like being told what to do, or what to drink, Old Tennessee Distilling Company is where you can take a moment, take a sip, and get a taste for Tennessee.