Can a moonshine distillery make it in a whiskey world? Sugarlands Distilling Co. in Gatlinburg, Tennessee thinks so and they have a track record to prove it. Sugarlands was founded in 2014 and they’ve been making a broad lineup of flavored moonshines ever since. Unlike bourbon, rye or Tennessee whiskey most moonshines don’t require aging. They can be distilled, bottled and sold in a short period of time. Bourbon, Rye and Tennessee whiskies generally require some time aging in a barrel before they are ready for bottling and consumption.
Sugarlands knew this early on and that’s why they started out with their many moonshine releases while their Tennessee rye whiskey was aging. Once their rye hit the two year mark they released it as Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey.
The distillery released its first rye whiskey in late 2016 and when it sold out within a few hours they knew they were on to something. They’ve been releasing a limited edition Roaming Man Rye Whiskey a couple times a year ever since. To help keep up with demand Sugarlands is building a second distillery about 45 minutes from Gatlinburg in Kodak, Tennessee.
Sugarlands Distilling Company Caps 4,500 Gallon Still, The Largest Pot Still in United States
The second Sugarlands distillery will focus on making whiskey. To that end the new distillery in Kodak includes a massive all copper pot still. The new equipment includes a 4,500 gallon copper pot still built by Vendome Copper & Brass Works, a 36” four tray column and dephlegmator, a charcoal mellowing tank as well as other equipment.
In recognition of the largest pot still in the United States Sugarlands offered a sneak-peek of its new distillery, barrel warehouse, and production center. Attendees gathered to see the copper “helmet” and lyne arm permanently bolted into place. Once completed the new Sugarlands’ Kodak facility will be one of the largest distilleries in Tennessee.
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The new Kodak facility will include a 32,364-square-foot distillery as well as a 26,500-square-foot barrel warehouse to age it’s whiskey. The total facility will feature 58,864 square feet of space to distill, bottle and age whiskey.
“Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey has won dozens of international awards, including ‘Best Whiskey’ from the American Craft Spirits Association in 2019 and the Double Gold from the San Francisco International Spirits Competition in 2021,” said Ned Vickers, President and Founder of Sugarlands Distilling Co.
“Featuring the largest copper pot still in the U.S. and set against the backdrop of stunning Kodak, Tennessee, we are looking forward to opening this new facility to our customers, partners and friends.”
Sugarlands Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey is pot-distilled and aged in premium barrels. Bottled twice a year, the whiskey has historically sold out within hours of release. The new distillery and barrelhouse will expand distribution of Roaming Man Whiskey nationwide over the coming years.
During the ceremony, Master Distiller Greg Eidam provided a guided tour through the new distillery, which is expected to open in late 2021 and will offer a retail component along with tasting and tour experiences in the coming years. Made possible with grant support from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the facility will use raw materials like Tennessee grown white corn, rye, and malted barley to make its Roaming Man whiskey.
“When we opened Sugarlands Distilling Company back in 2014, I had no idea what a ride we were in for,” said Master Distiller Greg Eidam.
“I feel like we grabbed ahold of a rocket ship and there is no telling how far it will take us. I am absolutely honored to be surrounded by this amazing team as we’ve grown Roaming Man into the nationally recognized and celebrated Tennessee Rye whiskey it is today.”
“At the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, we’re excited to support the distilling industry in Tennessee including Sugarlands Distilling Co. We are proud that the Ag Enterprise Fund was a part of their growth and expansion, and we are looking forward to seeing their continued success,” said Keith Harrison, Assistant Commissioner for the Business Development Division.
The project’s building contractors include Gunn Construction, J&F Mechanical, Morristown Automatic Sprinkler Co., and McGaha Electric Co. The process piping, tank and equipment installation is being performed by United Group Services, out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Funderburk Electrical Services, LLC is responsible for all process related electrical work. Ryan Steel, Inc. produced the structural steel for piping and equipment supports, as well as the mezzanine. And the magnificent copper pot still was hand built by the oldest still manufacturer in the U.S., Vendome Copper and Brass, out of Louisville, Kentucky.
Sugarlands will support Tennessee farms and employ more than 40 new production staff at the Kodak location, including distillers, blenders, bottlers, barrel warehousemen, maintenance, and programming personnel. The company currently employees more than 100 team members in Tennessee.
Sugarlands Distilling Company, located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a craft distillery producing award-winning moonshine, rum, cream liqueurs and rye whiskey. Their line of spirits is distributed in 40 states nationwide and made available for home delivery via Reserve Bar. More than one million people visit their distillery every year. It is TripAdvisor’s number 1 thing to do in Gatlinburg and the world’s most top-rated distillery experience.
Where are the Largest Pot Stills in the United States?
|No.||Distillery||City||State||Pot Still Gallons|
|1||Sugarlands Distilling Company||Kodak||Tennessee||4,500|
|3||Buffalo Trace Distillery||Frankfort||Kentucky||2,500|
|4||Woodford Reserve Distillery||Versailles||Kentucky||2,500|
|5||Copper & Kings American Brandy Company||Louisville||Kentucky||2,000|
|6||Garrison Brothers Distillery||Hye||Texas||2,000|
|7||Laws Whiskey House||Denver||Colorado||2,000|
|8||Phillips Distilling Co.||Princeton||Minnesota||2,000 (2x)|
|10||Call Family Distillers||Wilkesboro||North Carolina||1,500|
If you know of others that should make this list, please email us at Info@DistilleryTrail.com and we will expand this to the Top 10 largest stills in the U.S.