The Tennessee Whiskey Trail
To first understand what the Tennessee Whiskey Trail is you’ve got to understand the history of whiskey in Tennessee and the people who distill it. In the early 1800s the United States had over 14,000 registered distilleries across the country with Tennessee being home to hundreds of them. Heck, even Chattanooga was home to over 30 distilleries at the time. Whiskey had become Tennessee’s biggest industry but was halted in 1906 by a state law that prohibited the distillation and production of alcohol throughout the state, 10 years before federal prohibition. It wasn’t up until 2009 when more than just three counties in TN could distill spirits. Even then the law only allowed an additional 41 counties in the state to distill, it would take yet another piece of legislation to continue to increase the number of counties up to around 75 that could distill in some fashion within their borders. This push of legislation in 2009 kick started the craft distilling industry in Tennessee as we see it today.
The Tennessee Whiskey Trail is a collective group of distillers spread throughout the state, with each one having their own unique twist on a spirit that has been an integral part of the history of our great state. It spans from Memphis to Chattanooga and up all the way to Bristol! Some would even call taking on and completing the trail, by touring and visiting each distillery, a pilgrimage of sorts for the whiskey and spirits connoisseur. Not only will you get to experience a multitude of skilled distillers and their respective crafts but also take in the natural beauty of the state of Tennessee as you travel to each! To successfully “complete” the trail you’ve got to get your hands on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail Passport, you can usually find these at the distilleries across the trail. Once in the distillery you can obtain a stamp from the distillery and if you take a tour or purchase a drink then you’re gifted with a poker chip that is special to that distillery. Completing the trail by getting all stamps and chips is quite the task and will be sure to entice your inner collector.
As of this blog there are only two distilleries in the Chattanooga area, both of which are on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, us here at Gate 11 and our neighbors across the street with Chattanooga Whiskey company! Both distilleries are located across the street from each other, with Chattanooga whiskey facing Market Street and Gate 11 being inside the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo. Here at Gate 11 we provide a wide array of spirits, so don’t let us being part of the whiskey trail fool you! We offer eight, yes EIGHT uniquely different and local spirits ranging from two types of Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Agave, AND Absinthe! (we even have a bourbon and a rye in the works…) Gate 11 is a craft distillery and we pride ourselves in taking that craft to the next level. All of our spirits are produced in house with stills that have been built by hand by our master distiller Bill Lee, so we’d like to say that we offer something that will definitely take you by surprise. We are proud to be part of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail and even more proud to offer such an extensive line of quality, locally produced spirits. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Chattanooga, come on by or give us a shout and try something that is uniquely Chattanooga!!