H Clark Distillery - Founder Heath Clark with Tennessee Bourbon

Celebrating the anniversary of Repeal Day each year always has a special place in distiller’s hearts. This year, December 5th was an extra special day for H Clark Distillery in Thompson Station, Tennessee. That’s the day that this young distillery sold its first bottle of Straight Tennessee Bourbon. Wait, Bourbon made in TN can they do that? Yes, of course they can, as long as it’s made in the U.S., it’s at least 51% corn, it comes off the still at less than 160 proof, it’s cut to less than 125 proof before barreling and it’s aged in a new oak barrel (technically, an oak container.) And, this Tennessee bourbon is Straight Bourbon because it’s been aged for at least two years.

Distilling and Aging Straight Bourbon Requires Patience
H Clark Distillery - Tennessee Bourbon and Barrel
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The H Clark Distillery was founded by Heath Clark in 2014 making it the first legal distillery in Williamson County, TN since prior to Prohibition. Heath actually first got started in the distillery scene five years prior to opening the distillery by being involved with the states Craft Distilling Legislation back in 2009. With five years under his belt he had some time to do some planning.

1st Single Barrel Tennessee Bourbon Release

H Clark Distillery - Tennessee Bourbon Bottle No. 1 or 264
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H Clark Distillery - Tennessee Straight Bourbon Barrel No. 1 Poster
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On Monday, December 5th 2016, H Clark Distillery released the first legal barrel of bourbon to be distilled, aged and bottled in the county in over 100 year. The 53 gallon white oak barrel produced 264 bottles, and each bottle from barrel No. 1 was hand numbered and sold with a poster created by Hatch Show Print as a celebratory package.

“While it’s great to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition, it’s imperative to recall its imposition. We barreled our first barrel of bourbon at 106 proof in order to remind us of that decision in 1910 which cost us 106 bourbon deprived years in Williamson County,” explains Clark. Tennessee was one of the first states to outlaw liquor sales in 1909/1910 many years prior to the time the 18th Amendment outlawed alcohol across the entire country.

Proceeds from Bottle No. 1 to Go to Friends Affected by TN Fires

Distillers are a tight knit group. The fires that devastated East Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge took place four hours away but the H Clark Distillery team wanted to do something to help. They heard that at least 25 fellow team members lost their homes in the tragic fires so on the eve of the bourbon launch party they announced that the buyer for Bottle No. 1 from Barrel No. 1 would be the person who pledged and contributed the most to The Dollywood Foundation. The sale of that bottle generated $2,000 to help out those families in Eastern Tennessee. If you want to pledge, please visit the Dollywood Foundation My People’s Fund website.

H Clark Distillery Uses a 400 Liter Hoga Still Made in Portugal
H Clark Distillery - Still & Condenser
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The distillery makes its craft spirits in the same building local farmers used to house grains before loading them on the railroad for sale generations ago. The distillery’s product offerings include,

  • H Clark Distillery’s 2 Year Old Tennessee Bourbon made from 70% corn, 15% malt, 7.5% wheat and 7.5% rye.
  • H Clark Distillery’s Tennessee Rye made from 100% rye and aged 2 years or more in new cooperage.
  • H Clark Distillery’s Tennessee Black & Tan made from a black oatmeal stout mash that is distilled then tanned by time in an oak barrel and stored at least 3 months in used containers.
  • H Clark Distillery’s Tennessee Dry Gin made with botanicals and 100% grain neutral spirits.
  • H Clark Distillery’s New Whiskey is made with malted oats, barley and stout coffee malt then barreled and aged for maybe 5 minutes in reused cooperage.

H Clark Distillery - Tennessee Bourbon Bottle No. 1
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The distillery is located at 1,557 Thompsons Station Road West, Thompsons Station, TN. Distillery tours are available Monday – Friday on the hour between 11:00am and 4:00pm and Saturday on the hour between 12:00pm and 4:00pm.

H Clark Distillery - New Whiskey, Tennessee Black & Tan, Tennessee Dry Gin 1
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