Sips of the South
Distilleries, Breweries + Tours
ALL THE BEST LOCAL PLACES TO GET YOUR DRINK ON
There’s a lot of things that the south is known for such as it’s hospitality, beautiful outdoors, good home-cooking, and so on. Some visitors have yet to discover another great staple of the southern states, alcohol. Local breweries and distilleries craft their products with as much passion for them as they have about being from the south. There’s just a certain way they do things around here that’s a little different from your big city brew masters and it’s a difference you’ll have to taste to believe.
SweetWater Brewing Company
The idea for SweetWater was sparked in Boulder, Colorado, when college roommates Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney spent their time “studying” beer. But the humble beginnings of a real-deal brewery began in Atlanta in 1997. During the building process, Bensch kayaked down Sweetwater Creek, just west of the brewery, and the name—along with the motto “Don’t Float the Mainstream”—was born. Sweetwater’s current home in Midtown can turn out 400,000 barrels a year, including the year-round Georgia Brown, “smoother than a Bill Clinton apology,” and Blue, made with a hint of fresh blueberries, which “ain’t just for breakfast anymore.”
Makers Mark Distillery
Makers Mark is still doing things like they did in 1953. From the old letterpress, to the way they hand-rotate every barrel and hand-dip every bottle. Yet it seems there's always something new and exciting going on at their little distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. Take a tour of the distillery and you'll find that the same attention to detail that goes into making their bourbon has gone into preserving their location on Star Hill Farm.
A visit to the distillery isn't complete without a turn at the dipping station. When you purchase any undipped bottle, you can try your hand at dunking your one-of-a-kind souvenir into Maker's® red wax.
Great Raft Brewing
These Louisiana brewers aim to reflect their native culture and complement the bold flavors of local cuisine. Awkward Uncle is a Belgian strong dark ale that Great Raft promotes as “BIG AND BOOZY, just like the best and worst family gatherings.” A coffee brown called Creature of Habit is a collaboration with local Rhino Coffee, whose blend of slow-roasted Kambata and Sidamo beans were added to the tank, creating a brown ale that coffee lovers adore.
Jack Daniel Distillery
This distillery’s employees love to entertain it’s guests just about as much as they love making Tennessee Whiskey at the Jack Daniel Distillery. Like any good host, they are always more than happy to show you around the place with a variety of distillery tours. Take a tour, take a taste, and take some home. Whether it’s the legendary Old No. 7 or the more modern flavors like Tennessee Honey and Tennessee Fire, your taste buds will be singing.
This Richmond brewery has been on a mission to create craft beers that satisfy inquisitive drinkers with the most persnickety of tastes. The taproom rotates over 25 beers, including everything from a Belgian-style brown ale to a chocolate lager. The Room 237 Bière d’Hiver that took “a little less than five miserable months to contrive” was inspired by the movie The Shining.
Fonta Flora Brewery
Morganton, North Carolina
Check out Fonta Flora’s Facebook page and you’ll likely see requests from the brewers to their many loyal customers: Anybody have extra figs on your tree? Could you save us the seeds after you carve that Halloween pumpkin? Steeped in the artisanal heritage of Appalachia, the farm-focused team behind this brewery forages the countryside for wild seasonal flora and works to take beer brewing back to its agricultural roots. Depending on the season, you might find on tap Wisteria Porter or maybe Beets Rhymes and Life local beet Saison.
Dark Corner Distillery
Greenville, South Carolina
Dark Corner Distillery is a craft micro distillery focused on producing small batches of the world’s best moonshine, aged whiskey, gin, absinthe and other distilled spirits. The distillation system was designed by the founder of the distillery to favor quality and taste. The tour allows guests the opportunity to sample six spirits while hearing the history of the products and their unique flavor profile and includes a Dark Corner Distillery shot glass.
Cahaba Brewing was founded in the summer of 2011 by a group of friends—an engineer, a salesman, a fireman, an entrepreneur, and a lawyer—each with a deep passion for craft beer and home brewing. After finding space in Birmingham’s popular Lakeview/Pepper Place district and purchasing equipment from a Huntsville brewer ready to upgrade, Cahaba Brewing opened to the public in September 2012. The canned American Blonde flagship beer is the lightest of the ales, while Oka Uba IPA is hoppy, floral, and citrusy, but not bitter. Each Friday, the brewery releases a small batch beer, sold until all 10 gallons are gone.
Jester King Brewery
Situated in the Texas Hill Country, Jester King is a small farmhouse brewery that prides itself on using native yeast, grains that are locally grown and malted, and water from its own well. The brewery specializes in wild ales and spontaneously fermented beers—each showcasing the flavor profiles and unique characteristics of the area. Jester King has created a cult following, often resulting in a “bottle-per-person-per-day” rule for limited-batch releases.
Outer Banks Distilling
Manteo, North Carolina
Outer Banks Distilling is the first legal distillery on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, making their mark by distilling small batch rum from the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Located in historic downtown Manteo, they offer Kill Devil Rum tastings and tours on site. While visiting the distillery you can purchase your own bottle of their award-winning products like limited edition small batch flavors from the shipwreck series or their famous gold, silver, and pecan Kill Devil Rums.
Is your mouth watering yet? You can practically imagine the incredible taste of the best sips in the south and now all that’s left to do is to go try them for yourself. Set up a boozy road trip to visit them all or go at it with a slower pace by making a weekend out of your visit to explore the surrounding areas as well. However you experience the south we’ll be sure to help you quench your thirst and leave you eager to come back.
New Brews in Clarksville
Clarksville, Tennessee is known as a vibrant college town full of opportunity but a lesser explored side of this city is it’s breweries and distilleries. The three breweries to pull the latest pints in town are Evill Nash Brewing Company, Kings Bluff Brewery and Gladiator Brewery. Walk into any of the three destinations and you’re likely to enjoy a taste or two, but hopefully also understand this unique sense of place Clarksville’s newest trailblazers are creating.
Kelso & Nashville Tennessee
When you taste Prichard’s Fine Rum or premium whiskey, you’ll immediately be able to distinguish their product from the mass produced products that line the store shelves. Prichard’s Distillery hand crafts their spirits in small batches and in copper pots to allow for the best possible flavor. Fermentation, distilling, aging, blending and bottling are all completed under the direct supervision of a master distiller. Take a tour and taste it for yourself for free at the Kelso and Fontanel distilleries.
Wine & Whiskey Trail
Bullitt County, Tennessee
Run don’t walk to discover Bullitt County’s Wine and Whiskey Trail. It is a culmination of their Four Award Winning Wineries, Jim Beam and The Four Roses Visitor Experience. Visit all of them, get the passport stamped at each location, then redeem the stamped passport at the Visitor Center for a free souvenir glass. The Visitor Center is a great spot to pick up your passport and itinerary. The Trailmasters will give you information on navigating all of the great trails in the area so you get to savor every step of the trails. jimbeamcountry.com