First whiskey in Williamson in 100 yearsBy Melita Kiely
Whiskey distilled in Williamson County, Tennessee, will be legally sold for the first time in 100 years when H. Clark Distillery officially opens on 1 May.
A decade before Prohibition was enforced throughout the US, Senate Bill No. 11 made the production of any alcoholic drinks within Tennessee a crime in 1909 and closed the state’s last-known legal distillery White Maple Distillery in Franklin.
The manufacture of alcohol almost anywhere within the state was illegal until 2009 when the legislation was amended by the Tennessee General Assembly thus legalising distillation in Williamson County.
“That was a big victory,” Heath Clark, founder of H. Clark Distillery, told The Tennessean. “Roman numeral number one was to get permission.
“I started looking at the laws. At the time it was illegal to do it anywhere in Tennessee besides Coffee, Moore and Lincoln County.”
Clark then spent three years renovating and restoring a 100-year-old, 1,200 square foot granary building, which now houses his distillery.
He will initially sell an “unaged” oatmeal stout whiskey and a gin, with plans to launch his Bourbon and Tennessee-style whiskey from next year.
“It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve never been one to quit or give up on something,” he added. “But here we are six years after the bill passed and I’m finally about to sell my first bottle.”
Furthermore, another distillery is currently being build 20 minutes from H. Clark Distillery called Leiper’s Fork Distillery, which will make premium Bourbon anda Tennessee whiskey.
The brainchild of Lee Kennedy, the distillery boasts 5,000 square feet and a 2,500 square foot log cabin built on 30 acres of land.
Built in 1825, the log cabin will host tours, tastings, live music and retail and office space.
Kennedy plans to begin distilling in June and officially open in October this year.