Hard Truth Distilling - Master Distiller Bryan Smith, Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye Whiskey

You’ve come a long way baby. What started as a brewpub on a back street in beautiful downtown Nashville has expanded over the years to 12 restaurants, a full-scale brewery, a distillery, and a secluded tourist destination nestled on 325 acres on the outskirts of town. No, this isn’t Music City, Nashville, Tennessee, this is Nashville, Brown County, Indiana, home to Hard Truth Distilling Co. And in another nod to Tennessee this area is often referred to as “The Little Smokies” for its picturesque resemblance to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. This tourist destination area is also home to Indiana’s Brown County State Park. It’s Indiana’s largest state park at 16,000 acres and welcomes nearly 2 million visitors a year.

The Journey from Micro Distillery to Indiana’s Largest Craft Distillery and Destination

The distillery started in 2015 with used equipment left over from their Quaff ON! Brewing Co. expansion. The initial micro distillery set the wheels in motion for a full fledged 18,000 square foot distillery, restaurant, and tourist destination in 2017. Now, after five years, it’s time to expand again as Hard Truth Distilling’s wide range of distilled spirits continue to grow their distribution footprint and they continue to gain national attention with an array of spirits competition awards.

Drag the arrows below left to right to see the original distiller vs. the new distillery.
Hard Truth Distilling - Micro Distillery Above Restaurant, Distillation Hard Truth Distilling - Vendome Copper & Brass Works Distillation Equipment

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A Day on the Trail: Hard Truth Distilling Goes from Micro to Largest Craft Distillery in Indiana

Hard Truth Distilling Expanding Production and Rickhouse CapacityHard Truth Distilling - The Distillery and Restaurant

In a 2018 interview with Hard Truth Co-Founder Jeff McCabe he told us their operation was about one thing, “Creating great experiences.” Based on the latest announcement for expansion that mantra is working as their business has continued to grow over the last several years. To keep up with demand, its time for the second distillery expansion.

3 New Fermentation Tanks – The majority of Hard Truth’s distillation equipment is manufactured by Vendome Copper and Brass Works from their column still, hybrid pot still, cookers and fermentation tanks. The distillery has three 2,500 gallon fermentation tanks and will be adding three new 5,000 gallon fermentation tanks.

Going 24/7 – They will also be increasing distillation operations to 24/7 upon completion of the expansion. All combined between the new equipment and expanded operations they will increase production capacity by 800%.

“We are going to go from producing 1,000 whiskey barrels per year, which is what our current run rate is, to 8,500 barrels a year as of January 1, 2023,” said Master Distiller Bryan Smith. “I am so excited!”

Hard Truth Distilling - Rackhouse 1 with Master Distiller Bryan Smith
Hard Truth Distilling Partner and Master Distiller Bryan Smith in Rackhouse No. 1.

Rackhouse No. 2 – All that great whiskey and rye must go somewhere. Hard Truth will build a second and larger barrel warehouse. The original warehouse is home to 4,000 palletized barrels while the new warehouse will have triple the capacity at 12,000 barrels. Not to mention they have the single barrel warehouse floating on the pond!

Steady Sales Growth from New Products and New Markets

Hard Truth Distilling - Visitor Center and Tasting Room
Hard Truth Distilling visitor center and tasting room.

Hard Truth Distilling has no shortage of product offerings. Hard Truth’s sales have grown steadily year over year. From 2020 to 2021, during the pandemic times, sales nearly doubled thanks to increases from existing brands and the introduction of three new products, including Hard Truth Maple Bourbon Cream. Hard Truth’s portfolio of spirits includes Hard Truth Toasted Coconut Rum, Toasted Coconut Rum Cream, Maple Bourbon Cream and Cinnamon Vodka — which has become the best-selling cinnamon vodka in the U.S. Whiskey brands in addition to Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye, include Indiana Straight Rye Whiskey, the Sipes’ family of bourbon and rye whiskeys, and the Schoonover family of bourbons.

In addition to ongoing sales gains, Hard Truth continues to add new markets. The distillery’s portfolio of spirits can now be enjoyed in 16 states and in the Bahamas, and according to Jeff McCabe, Hard Truth Co-Founder, market expansion is a priority. “We expect to see our brands in 28 states by 2023,” said McCabe.

Work on these latest expansion projects began in late June and is expected to be completed within six months.

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