16 Essential Tennessee Distilleries Near Nashville
From George Dickel to Jack Daniel’s and beyond, these are the best spots to see how the local liquor you love is made near Nashville.
“You’re as smooth as Tennessee whiskey,” sang Chris Stapleton (and George Jones before him), and the state’s most famous spirit does take a little bit of the edge off, thanks to a regulation that requires the whiskey to be mellowed through charcoal before bottling. But the state has so much more to offer than just whiskey, and innovative new distilleries are popping up like mushrooms on the forest floor after a spring shower. Many of them are within an easy drive of Nashville, but maybe not necessarily an easy drive home. So find a designated driver and check out some of these cutting-edge spirits specialists.
Wedgewood Houston and Marathon Village
South of the city’s downtown, this trendy neighborhood houses a craft distillery started by two childhood friends who first started brewing beer and wine in their garage. The first Nashville craft distillery in more than a half century, Corsair is now making a name for itself winning more than 450 medals in national and international spirit competitions offering everything from gin to rye whiskey and a novel triple-smoked American single malt. You can even learn how to whip up a cocktail of your own at one of the monthly cocktail creation sessions after partaking in one of the many afternoon distillery tours.
Distance from Nashville: 32 minutes
Formerly known as H Clark Distilling after founder Heath Clark, an attorney who advocated for legislation allowing distilling in Williamson County, TN in 2009 for the first time since pre-Prohibition, Company Distilling changed its name in 2020 after bringing on new investors and the former master distiller for Jack Daniels, Jeff Arnett. This new dream team developed a novel whiskey aged in oak barrels and finished with maple wood and plans to open a second location with a restaurant and tasting room soon in Townsend, Tennessee. Tours are offered daily at the Thompson’s Station facility from noon to 5 pm.
Trading mainly in flavored moonshines, Ole Smoky is a destination distillery/brewery in SoBro just a few blocks from Nashville’s happening Lower Broad party district. In addition to the massive gift shop and tasting room, Ole Smoky’s 6th & Peabody complex features an outdoor area with yard games and massive screens for watching sports. Most visitors go home with at least a jar or two of ‘shine, but don’t miss out on their line of flavored whiskeys if that’s your sort of thing.
SoBro and Berry Hill
The former Tenn South Distillery changed its name and focus after being purchased by the music mogul behind Big Machine Records. Along with the original production facility in Lynnville, TN, two new tasting rooms in Nashville feature platinum-filtered premium vodka plus spiked coolers, drink mixers, and cocktail kits. While the ancient distilleries of Scotland probably aren’t quaking in their kilts over the competition, Big Machine does a good job staying in their lane and providing a good time.
This rye-focused spirits company was started by a bartender who discovered how delicious a blend of coffee and rye is by serving it after hours to his friends. Standard Proof’s product line has expanded to include additional rye infusions ranging from pecan to ginger to mint, along with a couple of aged straight rye whiskeys as well. The downtown tasting room is open seven days a week with live music on Wednesday nights and two cocktail classes a day from Tuesday through Sunday.
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 15 minutes
This small-batch distillery was best known for its authentic moonshine when it opened using recipes handed down from “retired amateur distillers” in the area. They’ve since added a few whiskeys to their repertoire, including the first Tennessee whiskey made using 100% organic grains and malts. If you’re so inclined, you can even take a private mixology class for groups on location to learn from the experts.
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 11 minutes
Nestled in the beautiful scenery of rural Tennessee, this distillery was established as Cascade Hollow Distillery by Nashville merchant George Dickel back in 1878 and remains one of the oldest distilleries in Tennessee. Now the brand offers a wide range of traditional hearty whiskys including various ages of Tennessee whisky, a charcoal-mellowed rye and periodic special small batch releases under the Cascade Moon brand. Feel free to stock up on funky souvenirs at the gift shop that mimics an old-school country general store, after enjoying the one-hour tour offered daily. Whatever you do, just don't argue that they should spell Dickel whisky with an "e"—despite producing American hooch, the company prefers the Scottish traditional spelling.
Distance from Nashville: 40 minutes
Leiper’s Fork whiskey is a nod to the way frontier American settlers made whiskey, and their Leiper’s Old Natchez line is clear and untouched by oak. They also offer impressive aged versions of bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye that benefit from years in barrels. Housed in a barn fashioned from a 200-year-old cabin, this distillery brings historical frontier tradition to this prominent Nashville suburb. You can take in the whole thing on a comprehensive tour for just $18.
Started by forensic scientist Bruce Boeko, this distillery housed in a modern building in Nashville’s burgeoning We-Ho neighborhood is still relatively new to the scene, but it’s already gaining notoriety for its range of spirits. In addition to a nice young bourbon and an aromatic gin, Nashville Craft produces innovative spirits from honey and sorghum.
Founded by German immigrant merchant Charles Nelson and later taken over by his wife Louisa, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery’s tradition is now carried on by his two great-great-great-grandsons, Charlie and Andy. The distillery now boasts whiskeys and bourbons inspired by the pre-Prohibition method made famous by their ancestors, including a coffee-caramel-pecan liqueur named after Louisa, two bourbons, and a Tennessee whiskey. Daily distillery tours and tastings sell out early, so make reservations in advance.
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes
Probably one of the most recognizable brands of whiskey in the world, every drop of Jack Daniels is produced and shipped from the tiny town of Lynchburg, deep in the hollers of South Central Tennessee. Founded in 1866 by businessman Jack Daniel, who learned how to distill from a local preacher and an enslaved man named Nearest Green. The distillery offers several themed tours including a tasting tour, a motor tour, and one accompanied by a traditional Southern meal at Miss Mary Bobo’s boarding house nearby just off the town square. Its charcoal mellowed Old. No. 7 is a staple in most bars around the country, but the distillery is also known for Gentleman Jack, an incredibly smooth golden whiskey.
Located in the quickly developing Nations neighborhood of West Nashville, this distillery is best known for its line of premium whiskeys under the Davidson Reserve label and the popular Pickers Vodka. They also offer a delectable American version of Irish Cream with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, made with aged whiskey blended with 30 all-natural flavors and dairy cream. You can also partake in all of them on their tasting tours.
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour
Patience is the watchword at Old Glory, where distillers waited five years before releasing their first small-batch Tennessee whiskey made using locally-grown grains. While they waited, they did release some whiskey from small barrels, which age faster than traditional casks, plus a vodka, a gin, a white rum, and some flavored moonshines, so they’ve got a pretty robust portfolio of products at Old Glory now. Drop by any day of the week for a tour or to visit the cocktail bar, and you’ll have the chance to sample the whole range.
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes
The Prichard family has 200 years of distilling history in Tennessee, including some when it wasn’t actually legal. But when the opportunity came to open the first new distillery in the state since the repeal of Prohibition, Phil Prichard went to work reviving his family’s legacy, opening the Kelso facility in an old converted schoolhouse in 1997. Early on, Prichard’s line of rums drew most of the attention and garnered awards in many competitions, but now the line has expanded to include whiskeys, vodka, liqueurs, brandy, and moonshine. The distillery doesn’t schedule organized tours, but just drop by whenever they’re open Monday - Saturday, and someone will probably be happy to show you around.
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour
Nathan “Nearest” Green’s role in helping to develop Tennessee whiskey as the teacher of a young Jack Daniel was almost lost to history, despite the fact that Green’s descendants have worked continuously at Jack’s distillery for generations. Entrepreneur Fawn Hall found out about the story and decided to revive the legacy with a new distillery named after Nearest. Initially sourcing fantastic whiskey from nearby distilleries, Uncle Nearest established itself as a premium brand with a brand new production distillery up and running. While they wait for their own whiskey to age, they encourage visitors on weekends for tastings and tours of the facility.
Distance from Nashville: 2 hours
Chattanooga Whiskey set out to do nothing less than to establish a brand new subset of whiskey that they call “Tennessee High Malt.” It still contains enough corn to qualify as bourbon, but the founders of the company all came from beer brewing backgrounds, so they love malted barley. The high barley content contributes unique chocolate, sweet tea, and buttery toast notes to their flagship product, and the crew continues to experiment with all sorts of recipes at their original small facility. The large production site isn’t open for tours, but the cozy Experimental Distillery offers tours and tastings every day.