If you haven’t been to the Great Smokies Mountains and visited at least half a dozen distilleries, then you are missing out. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee is home to nearly a dozen distilleries not including the one’s that have multiple locations. Granted, it may not have the same history as those legal distilleries north of the border to its friends in Kentucky but, it’s the land of moonshine, fun and bluegrass music.
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One of the distilleries leading the charge in the Great Smoky Mountains is Ole Smoky Distillery. The distillery has four locations in the area. All combined Ole Smoky, according to on-premise traffic counters, welcomed 5.7 million visitors in 2021. That number is up from 4.5 million visitors in 2020. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike many states Tennessee had very few lock downs over the past couple years during the pandemic. That means that while many states had their doors closed, Tennessee was open for business and the numbers tell the story. Here is a breakdown by their four locations.
- Ole Smoky’s ‘The Holler’ in Gatlinburg welcomed 2.6 million visitors
- Ole Smoky’s ‘The Barrelhouse’ in Gatlinburg welcomed 1.1 million guests
- Ole Smoky’s ‘The Barn’ in Pigeon Forge welcomed 1.3 million visitors
- And Ole Smoky’s ‘6th & Peabody’ in Nashville welcomed 0.7 million visitors (technically, this is about three and a half hours from the Smokies.)
“In 2021, Ole Smoky Distillery saw significant brand growth and more than one million additional visitors experiencing our four distilleries in Tennessee. We are proud that each year more and more people visit our distilleries to try our growing variety of quality moonshine and whiskey products,” said Robert Hall, CEO, Ole Smoky Distillery.
“We know that part of the increase in visitors came from our regional drive markets, as more people took to the roads last year. We are also fortunate to be in Gatlinburg, a family-friendly destination that hosted more visitors at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, more than 14 million, as well as other new local attractions. East Tennessee truly became a more desirable travel location for so many this past year.”
Ole Smoky Throws Down Comparison to Scotland and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tourism
Ole Smoky vs. Scotland – By comparison, Ole Smoky entertains more than twice as many guests as all of Scotland’s distilleries combined. According to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Scotland’s 134 whiskey distilleries saw 2.2 million visitors in 2021.
Ole Smoky vs. Kentucky Bourbon Trail – Ole Smoky’s 5.7 million visitors is more than triple the 1.7 million people who visit all the distilleries combined on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail each year.
Ole Smoky Distilleries Offer More Than Moonshine
Ole Smoky Distilleries craft both moonshine and whiskies and feature tastings for visitors every day of the week.
Each Ole Smoky distillery location includes working stills and fermentation tanks and an expansive visitor experience, including self-guided tours, moonshine and whiskey tastings, live music, and large retail shops featuring Ole Smoky moonshine, whiskey, apparel, accessories, and food.
Ole Smoky Moonshine is the No. 1 Moonshine in the World
As the largest craft distiller in the U.S., Ole Smoky Moonshine is also the No. 1 selling moonshine brand in the world and Nielsen indicates that Ole Smoky’s market share is over four times that of its nearest competitor. In 2021, Ole Smoky Distillery introduced its small-batch premium whiskey brand with their first expression honoring family ties, James Ownby Reserve Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky’s roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains’ earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine with enduring pride and Appalachian spirit. Ole Smoky retails in all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world and offers more than 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors.
Ole Smoky Distillery has been recognized for two consecutive years on the notable Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies.