Who’s the No. 1 Most Visited Distillery in the World? Is it in KY? Is it in TN? Who Had 4+ Million Visitors?
Being in the heart of the most popular National Park in the country means there are a lot of people traveling through your neighborhood. This National Park gets more visitors than the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone combined. It features beautiful mountain ranges, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife and the highest elevation along the Appalachian Trail.
This National Park is none other than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. At the center of the Park is Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the home to the most visited collection of distilleries in the entire United States. This distillery gets more visitors than the likes of Buffalo Trace Distillery, Jack Daniel Distillery, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Jim Beam Distillery and the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail combined. This home grown distillery founded in 2010 is none other than the Ole Smoky Distillery, makers of Tennessee Moonshine. in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Ole Smoky Distilleries Welcomed 4.5 Million Visitors in 2019
Ole Smoky Distillery features four locations across Tennessee. They are located in Pigeon Forge, a new location in Nashville and two locations in Gatlinburg. The company says that according to on-premise traffic counters, Ole Smoky’s four Tennessee distilleries welcomed 4.5 million visitors in 2019, up from last year’s 4.1 million. Ole Smoky Distilleries craft both moonshine and whiskeys and feature tastings for visitors seven days a week.
Ole Smoky’s The Holler in Gatlinburg welcomed 2.1 million visitors, The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg welcomed nearly 1.1 million, Pigeon Forge’s distillery, The Barn, welcomed 1.1 million, and the company’s newest distillery in Nashville, 6th & Peabody, which opened last fall, welcomed over 200,000 visitors.
“2019 was a growth year for our brand and our distilleries. We continue to introduce innovative and appetizing new products and opened an impressive 30,000 square-foot entertainment complex and distillery in the heart of Music City, Nashville. Now with four locations, we provided memorable ‘see it made’ distillery experiences to 4.5 million visitors last year. From the quality and variety of our moonshine and whiskey products, to our attractive merchandise and live music, distillery tastings and tours, our visitors experience the full spectrum of our Ole Smoky brand,” explains Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky Distillery LLC.
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How Do Ole Smoky Visitor Numbers Compare to other Distilleries?
By comparison, Ole Smoky entertains more than twice as many guests as all of Scotland’s distilleries combined. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Scotland’s 68 whiskey distilleries saw 2 million visitors in 2018. Ole Smoky’s 4.5 million visitors is more than two times the 1.7 million people who visited the Kentucky Bourbon Trail’s distilleries in 2019.
Each Ole Smoky distillery location includes working stills and fermentation tanks and an expansive visitor experience, including self-guided tours, tastings, live music, and large retail shops featuring Ole Smoky moonshine, whiskey, apparel, accessories and food.
To be fair this is a bit of like comparing apples and oranges – they are both fruit but they are quite different. As the note from Ole Smoky’s CEO says Ole Smoky features an ‘entertainment complex’. With their key locations there is a lot of foot and tourist traffic as compared to a Maker’s Mark Distillery or a Jack Daniel Distillery that is more of a destination where visitors go to visit the home of their favorite brand. It’s a bit more of a pilgrimage. That’s actually one of the best thing about the distilled spirits industry is all the unique experiences you’ll find at each distillery. Is one better than the other? Not necessarily, just like the spirits in the bottle or in this case the jar, it’s all a matter of taste and there is plenty to go around.
Ole Smoky is the No. 1 Selling Moonshine Brand in the World
Named the largest craft distiller in the U.S. by the IWSR, Ole Smoky Moonshine is also the No. 1 selling moonshine brand in the world and Nielsen indicates that Ole Smoky’s market share is more than three times that of its nearest competitor. In 2019, Ole Smoky introduced more than 20 new varieties of moonshine and whiskey across its distilleries.
Ole Smoky retails globally and offers more than 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors. Ole Smoky can be found at the company’s distilleries, online, in grocery and liquor stores nationwide, as well as in on-premise establishments, including some of the biggest music and sporting venues in the country.