It may seem small but if you look at the Sazerac brands they don’t tend keep things small for too long. Sazerac, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, parent company to Buffalo Trace Distillery, A. Smith Bowman Distillery, Glenmore Distillery and Barton Brands, just bought their way into the Lincoln County Process of making Tennessee whiskey with the acquisition of the Popcorn Sutton Distillery in Newport, TN. To be clear, Sazerac bought the distillery and the talent not the Popcorn Sutton brand.
Tennessee also happens to be home to Old No. 7 Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Brown-Forman’s largest single brand. Jack Daniel’s also uses the Lincoln County Process for making it’s whiskey, a process that takes the white dog off the still then filters it through charcoal chips before it goes into the barrel for aging. I have a feeling there’s going to be a whole lot more charcoal being made in TN in no time.
Popcorn Sutton Stills in Newport, Tennessee
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With the acquisition comes some noteworthy distillery talent, not only craft spirits startup talent but veteran talent including Master Distiller John Lunn and Master Blender Allisa Henley. In March of 2015, after 11 years with Diageo’s George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma, TN, Lunn left there to go to the Popcorn Sutton Distillery. Just over a year later in July 2016, Henley also with 11 years experience at Dickel left to rejoin Lunn at the Popcorn Sutton Distillery. Now, the two will be working for Sazerac who has plans to start producing Tennessee Whiskey using the Lincoln County Process, a process that takes a whiskey off the still then filters it through charcoal chips before it goes into the barrel for aging.
“We see a lot of potential in the distilling capabilities of this operation,” said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer, Sazerac. “We are excited to have the talents of John Lunn and Allisa Henley on board and we look forward to utilizing their expertise to start laying down true Tennessee whiskey.”
Sazerac will begin investment into the Distillery to modify the pot stills for the Lincoln County process. It is expected the Distillery will be up and running producing Tennessee whiskey in early 2017.
The purchase price is not being disclosed.