Despite Ledbetters Resignation And The Difficulties In Finding A Permanent Home For Their Distillery The Company Has Done Some Growing
Chattanooga Whiskey has assembled a young and dynamic team with seven full-time employees including an operations manager, marketing strategist, creative director and sales ambassador. The company also employs six part-timers.
We were very real with ourselves when establishing the brand and making plans to build a distillery and raising capital, Piersant says. We have smart investors and when they ask you, Surely you guys arent going to run this company long term? Joe and I said, No, no, were not.
Until Chattanooga Whiskey finds another location for its full-scale distillery, Piersant has found another way to get Chattanooga Whiskey into production in Chattanooga, instead of Indiana.
This spring, the company finished construction on a micro-distillery, Tennessee Stillhouse, in Chattanoogas newly revitalized Southside, and on March 24, it opened to the public. The 3,000-square-foot retail space sits across Market Street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, formerly called Terminal Station, built more than a century ago as the citys main train station. Tennessee Stillhouse has a small bottling line, a tasting bar, a patio for events and merchandise for sale. There is also a 100-gallon copper pot still for experimental purposes.
The building, which is more than 100 years old, is adjacent to the lot where one of Chattanoogas first distilleries stood: E.B. Gibson, which was in business from 1903 to 1915.
The 15 Best Places For Whiskey In Chattanooga
Joe Ledbetter: We can’t wait to have whiskey in our hometown!
Cecily Storey: Fun tour and nice varied tasting. Loved getting to taste the whiskey in a cocktail beverage as well.
Kaitlin: Best whiskey I’ve ever had. Seriously. The oaky flavor is perfect.
Stuart Everett: Try the gourmet bacon cheeseburger, Gouda creamed corn, and the CBC Urban Bourbon Bock! You’ll be glad you did. )
Bearded Dragon: Great food, awesome whiskey!
RootsRated: Ninety bourbons and whiskeys, fourteen rotating draughts, and three pages of delicious, original burger creations will keep you coming back, even if you live around the corner like we do. Read more.
Indigo: Stock up for father’s day with our special edition commando shaving bar or our tennesee bourbon and honey!
Carolyn Chastain: Great way to spend a Sunday. Lots of good looking produce. Vendors are eager to answer questions and give out samples.
Chattanooga Property Shop/ Keller Williams: Go any Sunday and find seasonal produce and artisan created items. My Sweet Swirls, Marsha, Marsha, Marsha and Gladys Fudge are the best vendors along with kettle corn.
Lauren: My favorite bar in Chattanooga. House whiskey is good and cheap.
Airborne Geek: The best Scotch Eggs I’ve ever had.
Joe Ledbetter: This place has my heart!
May Williams: 191 Bourbon drink is delicious. Also they have the best music playing!
Christopher Fason: Best drinks in town mixed by the friendliest bartenders in town.
Hope Evans: Very friendly staff
Whiskey To The People: Chattanooga Whiskey Company Co
Nestled in the heart of Chattanooga, Tennessee rests a unique craft distillery, one that succeeded in rallying the people in order to overturn decades-old laws prohibiting them from producing great whiskey right in Chattanooga. The distillerys opening in 2015 marked the first legal whiskey made in Chattanooga made in over 100 years. Chattanooga Whiskey Co. values heritage and tradition but knows when to break the status quo to make exceptional spirits.
Chattanooga Whiskey Co.s 1816 Reserve, their flagship whiskey, is a local favorite and staple on the shelves at bars and restaurants across the city. 1816 Reserve lives at a comfortable 90 proof, just slightly stronger than your average whiskey in order to command attention at first sip. Oak and rye waft on the nose with hints of caramel and baking spices in the background. Light vanilla and balanced sweetness greet the palate, followed by light notes of butterscotch candy and light rye spice.
At a bold 113 proof, 1816 Cask touts tremendous intensity and rich flavors. More oak and rye greet you on the nose, this time followed with wafts of toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla bean. Sipping reveals flavors of cinnamon and faint black tea, and a full bodies finish.
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In 1866 Not Long After The Civil War Ended A Man Named Elijah Roach Betterton Was Released From A Union Prison Camp And Moved Back Down South He Took Over His Familys Gristmill And A Few Years Later He Opened A Small Bar In Chattanooga Selling Whiskey By The Late 1800s The Town Had More Than 30 Distilleries It Was The Largest Distilling Center In The State
In the early 1900s, a nationwide movement was growing against drinking, making and selling alcohol. The Prohibition Party, the Anti-Saloon League and the Womens Christian Temperance Union condemned liquor, declaring it was of the devil.
Prohibition was repealed in 1933, but Tennessee didnt repeal its ban on manufacturing alcoholic drinks until 1937. Prohibition, strangely enough, only halted production of Jack Daniels and George Dickels whiskey for a short time due to a loophole that allowed liquor distillation in three counties in Tennessee Lincoln, Moore and Coffee. It wasnt until 2009 that the Tennessee Legislature voted to change the distillation laws in the state, making it legal to produce whiskey and other distilled spirits in 41 counties.
But Hamilton County, of which Chattanooga is the seat, was excluded. And it remained that way for almost 100 years.
That is, until Piersant and Ledbetter started the Vote Whiskey campaign, a tool to educate Chattanooga citizens about whiskey and the political process. Their goal was simple: to reverse the law and open a distillery, and eventually move the production of Chattanooga Whiskey to its namesake city.
Chattanooga Whiskey founder Tim Piersant inspects his product.
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Chattanooga Whiskey : Tennessee High Malt
Tennessee High Malt is our rich, malt-forward approach to bourbon. Made from the finest malted grains, each step of our process has been crafted to highlight the complexity of these ingredients. Our signature Tennessee High Malt recipe known to our distillers as Barrel 91 was selected from the first 100 barrels produced at our Experimental Distillery.
Made from 4 grains, including 3 select specialty malts, Tennessee High Malt starts with an attemperated 7-day fermentation. This extended process highlights both the rich, high-malt character while also adding a nuanced, fruity complexity to the spirit. After fermentation, each batch is distilled in our custom 30ft. column still before being laid to age in two types of charred & toasted oak barrels. This combination of cooperage imparts a balanced, confection-rich character to the aged whiskey, while also harmonizing with its malty-rich character.
After aging more than 2 years, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 utilizes our version of the solera finishing process – bringing together nearly 100 barrels into a 4000-gallon, charred, white oak Solera finishing barrel, which rarely goes empty.*Mash Bill: Yellow Corn, Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley & Honey Malted Barley
Age: Greater than 2 years
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Meet Our Solera Barrel
Utilizing our own version of the classic solera process, we bring together 100 fully aged barrels of Chattanooga Whiskey 91 into one large, charred oak barrel that never goes empty. After each small batch bottling, we then top the solera with 10-15 mature barrels. This continued process allows the whiskies to marry together, imparting a gradual complexity over time.
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Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery
Located at the original site on Market Street, this location was first named Tennessee Stillhouse after the Chattanooga Whiskey parent company of the same name. The distillery opened in March, 2015, at which point all the blending and bottling for 1816 began. This location makes approximately one barrel of whiskey per week on a 100-gallon system with one cooker, three fermenters, and a Vendome hybrid pot/column still.
As the home of the Experimental Single Batch Series and the birthplace of Tennessee High Malt, the distillery has released eight batches of experimental whiskey since August 2017, most highlighting a high malt style.
Chattanooga Whiskey Releases Its Bottled In Bond Vintage Series
Chattanooga Whiskey out of Tennessee recently announced the first release of its Bottled in Bond Vintage Series: Spring 2017. The release marks a new permanent addition to the Chattanooga Whiskey family of brands.
We continue to push the boundaries of what Tennessee High Malt can be, and this might be one of our most complex expressions yet, both in product and package, said Chattanooga Whiskeys Tim Piersant, CEO and Founder, in a prepared statement. This release is an original work of art that I dont believe you can compare to any other bottle of bourbon in the market.
A true bottled in bond whiskey, for those that dont know, must be the product of one distillation season, one distiller, and from one distillery. Legally, it must be aged in federally bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof. The Chattanooga Whiskeys Spring 2017 meets all requirements, the distillers said.
Chattanooga Whiskey Bottled in Bond Vintage Series: Spring 2017
The Bottled in Bond release is the single-season, vintage-dated expression of Chattanooga Whiskeys Tennessee High Malt Style and crafted from a selection of four unique high malt bourbons mash bills. Each of those bills are composed of at least 25% specialty malted grains.
This 100 proof Tennessee High Malt expression is medium-bodied and bottled January through June 2017. It has official tasting notes of spiced fruit, plums, wildflower honey, and butterscotch with a structured, wine-like finish.
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Chattanooga Whiskey Introduces The Second Release Of Their Islay Scotch Cask Finish
Chattanooga Whiskey’s limited edition finishing series celebrates the union of Tennessee High Malt into a variety of classic finishing casks.
Crafted from a combination of unique bourbon mash bills, each containing over 25% specialty malt, each batch is made to complement the flavor characteristics of the finishing barrel.
For their second finish in this series, their distillers sought out one of the most famous whisky styles of Scotland – Islay scotch. Each batch is made from a blend of three finishing casks, sourced from three different distilleries in the southernmost part of the Isle near Kildalton. This region of Islay is renowned for their rich, earthy and peat-forward scotches which are made from barley malt that is dried and smoked with peat moss native to the island.
To highlight and enhance the qualities of these finishing barrels, the distillers selected a pair of complementary-flavored mash bills, including B004 a Scottish style bourbon recipe containing peated malt, naked oat malt and honey malt. Aged for over 4 years including 3 months in 250 liter Islay Scotch hogsheads the result is a celebration of one of the worlds most iconic whiskey styles, alongside their very own Tennessee High Malt.
Islay Scotch Cask Finish will go on sale first exclusively at the Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery on Friday, January 21st, before making its way to select markets in the following weeks.
*Shipping limited by state law.
Wes Phelps A Restaurateur For More Than 30 Years And A Longtime Supporter Of Chattanooga Whiskey As Well As Friend To Both Piersant And Ledbetter Admits Hes A Bit Disappointed That The Company Has Gone In A Different Direction
As I got to know Tim and Joe, I realized it was more than just an idea to make money, Phelps says. They actually never talked about money or success. They talked about history, Chattanooga history, and how much they love this city. Was I disappointed when the other sites fell through? Yes. Was I disappointed when the John Ross site fell through? Yes. Has this affected their fan base? Yes. The flame has dimmed some doubt seeps in. It would be a shame for this history-making idea and movement to end up just being a small storefront on Market.
Phelps remembers how much of a hold Chattanooga Whiskey had on the town the momentum and public support the company garnered from constantly pushing their message of Vote Whiskey through social media, local newspapers and TV stations.
It was a wild ride watching Tim and Joe work this town, Phelps says. I used to describe them as rock stars, Lennon and McCartney. Everyone knew Joe and Tim! A lot of us got caught up in the excitement that was building.
After the bill passed to allow whiskey production in Hamilton County, Phelps recalls how shocked and weary the duo was after the announcement. They had a kind of what just happened? feeling. I remember saying, You did it, and then it was, Be careful what you wish for.
After visiting the newly opened Stillhouse, Phelps says he is impressed with how quaint the space is and how knowledgeable the staff is when it comes to whiskey.
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With No Money For Lobbyists Piersant And Ledbetter Began A Campaign To Persuade Chattanoogans To Fight The Law And Get Whiskey Made In Their Town Once Again
At least, not yet.
Internationally known whiskey writer Chuck Cowdery explains this phenomenon.
People who sell a product they did not distill are called non-distiller producers, or NDPs, Cowdery says. Most small or brand-new NDPs, such as Chattanooga Whiskey, buy bulk from the distiller. They find out what the distiller has in inventory and negotiate a purchase. Bulk is always a standard recipe since the NDP wasnt in the picture when the whiskey was made. The NDP can choose a bottling proof , but otherwise has very little opportunity to customize the product. Then they put it in a bottle, label it and sell it.
The Chattanooga Whiskey became faces of change. Piersant and Ledbetter used social media, town hall meetings and old-fashioned phone calling to keep the topic of changing Hamilton Countys distilling law in the public eye. They were bringing power to the people.
Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill into law in the spring of 2013.
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Chattanooga Whiskey Riverfront Headquarters
Located on Riverfront Parkway, this location has become the headquarters and main production facility for the company. The distillery was opened to the public in December, 2017, for an open house event, but is currently only available for private events in the adjacent event hall. The system â made by Vendome â consists of four 2,700-gallon fermenters, a 2,700-gallon cooker, a beer well, a 12-inch, 30-foot continuous column still, and a custom 100-gallon doubler that can produce up to 14 barrels a day when running on a 24-hour shift. The barrelhouse has space for 4,500 53-gallon barrels and houses a large 4,000-gallon, charred white oak Solera tank for finishing. The facility also has a 4,000-square-foot event hall that is available for private events.
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Chattanooga Whiskey Co Located In The Heart Of Downtown Chattanooga Across From The Historic Chattanooga Choo Choo
The micro-distillery and tasting room, known as the Tennessee Stillhouse is the first home for the Chattanooga Whiskey Company. The 100-year old building tells its own story and is adjacent to the former site of one of Chattanoogas first distilleries.
Haskel Sears mastery of reclaimed wood, offset by exposed brick walls is at the heart of this extraordinary renovation. Accomplished carpenter, Matt Sears, used repurposed materials throughout the interior to create an unusual connection to the art and science of whiskey works.
A former whiskey still was flattened to become the retail desk at the front door. Farther down the main hall are rough hewn wood beams from an ancient barn flanking a wall of texture and pattern created with barrel staves that were originally used to age whiskey from their 2008 production run.
At the bar, 100-year old pine flooring from a local factory was refinished to become the bar top, barrel staves span the space under the bar and the bar stools are refurbished wood. In fact, all the wood is reclaimed, even the shelves behind the bar and glass-fronted display cabinet with copper-plating.
But nothing whispers the history of whiskey as much as the handcrafted chandeliers over the bar created from the barrel hoops and snake condenser coils of former stills.
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Cask : Tennessee High Malt
Cask 111 is the unfiltered, cask-forward expression of our signature Tennessee High Malt recipe. Distilled from a single fermentation, each 6-10 barrel lot has been hand-selected by our distilling team to highlight the subtle nuances between each batch of this distinctly full-bodied and robust whiskey. By omitting the filtration process, our whiskey retains every bit of character captured from its long maturation.*
*Each bottle occasionally captures a small amount of barrel sediment.Mash Bill: Yellow Corn, Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley & Honey Malted Barley
Age: Greater than 2 years
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Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111 Review
Handcrafted from a single fermentation in small batches, Chattanooga Whiskey 111 Cask is the unfiltered, barrel strength expression of our signature Tennessee High. By omitting the traditional filtration process, Cask 111 is able to retain every bit of flavor and complexity from the rich ingredients and long maturation process.Chattanooga Whiskey
- MASH BILL: Yellow Corn, Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley & Honey Malted Barley
- Fermentation: Extended 7 days
NOSE: Cocoa | Sweet Tea | Fruit Cake Spices
TASTE: Chocolate | Cherries | Toasted Oak
FINISH: Medium-long finish featuring chocolate malt and sweet oak accompanied by a pleasant chest surge .
Cask strength bourbon drinkers will enjoy this one and will likely be surprised by its age.
WORTH THE PRICE: Yes. While its young in age, it drinks like an older and more mature bourbon.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle absolutely.
OVERALL: Over the past few years, Ive learned that I really enjoy whiskeys that explore using different malted grains. So when I first heard about Chattanooga Whiskeys Tennessee High Malt Whiskey coming to market, Ill admit I was pretty excited. Now having tried it, I can confirm that this new release from Chattanooga Whiskey only reinforces my fondness for whiskeys using a variety of malted grains.
Fermentation: Extended 7 days
Age: Greater than 2 years