Nashville is home to seven distillery experiences, with more in the works as we speak. If you’re a first-time traveler to the Music City or a Nashville proud, born-and-raised resident, these distilleries offer a fun, whiskey-soaked time for those looking to explore the smooth and nuanced Tennessee Whiskey category. And these seven distilleries are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to traveling along the Tennessee Whiskey Trail®, which now boasts more than 30 throughout the state!
In this piece, we will highlight the seven Nashville distilleries as well as some just outside the city limits — and even some bourbon distilleries just across the border in Kentucky. While most of these distilleries are all easy to get to and experience in one afternoon, we recommend a professional tour company like Mint Julep Experiences to plan your day and whisk-ey you away. Mint Julep’s custom Tennessee Whiskey Tour lets you pick and choose where you’d like to visit, and these distilleries listed below are a great place to start. So let’s get to sippin’
Distilleries to Visit IN Nashville
Corsair was founded in 2008 in Bowling Green, Ky., and two years later owners Darek Bell and Andrew Webber moved operations to Nashville, making it the first craft distillery in Music City since Prohibition. Corsair actually has two locations within the Nashville city limits, and both offer fun-filled whiskey experiences for locals and out-of-towners alike. The Corsair Marathon Distillery is located inside the bustling Marathon Village in the North Gulch neighborhood and offers distillery tours with tastings, along with a bottle and gift shop, plus a taproom with craft cocktails, local beers and pizza. The Corsair Distillery Headquarters is located in the industrial Wedgewood-Houston (We-Ho) neighborhood, not too far from Nashville Craft, and also offers full distillery tours and tastings. It’s fun to hang out here during the warmer months as locals gather on the outdoor deck to play corn hole and other games.
Corsair is known for its innovative approach to whiskey making, and you can taste that for yourself in their Dark Rye American Rye Malt Whiskey and Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey. They’re also brewing beer on premises, and why not? Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Corsair, and the distillery tour is included in the Nashville Distillery Tour Package, which includes tours and tastings at Corsair, Pennington, Nelson’s and
Nashville Barrel Co.
This company is slightly different than your average Nashville whiskey distillery, but they just might be enamored with the brown spirit more than anyone else in the business. The idea for Nashville Barrel Co. began in 2018 when the three proprietors starting buying sourced whiskey. Two years later, they came out with their own brand, and one year after that, they bought themselves a warehouse and visitor center in Nashville’s Southside area so that others can come taste and bottle what they like from their massive inventory. They’ve got everything from traditional rye whiskey and bourbon to finished whiskey and even rum.
The tour experiences run the full gamut, from flights and tasting experiences to bottling your own whiskey. Nobody ever leaves Nashville Barrel Co. disappointed, and the passion for the industry here is unwavering. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Nashville Barrel Co., and the distillery tour is included a number of TN Whiskey Tour Packages. These packages are customizable, allowing you to pick and choose from various whiskey hotspots.
Nashville Craft might look like a small operation from the outside, but they’re making big waves in the whiskey world with their handcrafted spirits that focus on all things local — including ingredients and resources. Located in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, Nashville Craft was started by Bruce Boeko, a former DNA laboratory director, who loves the science side of whiskey so much, he opened his own distillery.
The tours here are hands-on and knowledge-heavy, as you might imagine, and of course they include a tasting at the end of several products — from bourbon and whiskey to their very unique Golden Biscuit Sorghum Spirit, gin and even a honey-spiced liqueur. Nashville Craft also offers a two-day distilling experience where you can learn all the ins and outs of operating a distillery from Boeko and distiller Rachael Sykes. You can visit Nashville Craft, along with other popular Nashville distilleries, on Mint Julep Experiences’ Nashville Distillery Tour.
Nelson’s Green Brier
Located inside the Marathon Village complex in Nashville’s North Gulch neighborhood, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is a revival of a popular whiskey brand that rivaled the likes of Jack Daniel’s before Prohibition. In 2014, brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson opened their distillery to pay homage to their great-great-great grandfather Charles Nelson, whose Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey brand was a big seller back in the day. The brothers’ first release was the successful Belle Meade brand, and now they have revived the original Nelson’s Green Brier brand as well.
The tour at Nelson’s is very history-driven, with samples along the way, of course. Their immersive tasting experience details the history, distillation process and more, and on the weekends, they offer full distillery tours as well. And throughout the month, there are also premium tasting experiences offered, too. If you’re interested in a history-filled tour and tasting of multiple whiskey distilleries, check out the various TN whiskey tour packages offered by Mint Julep Experiences.
Pennington Distilling Co.
Home to the popular whiskey brand Davidson Reserve and the flavored vodka line Pickers Reserve, among others, Pennington Distilling opened in West Nashville in 2011 with a goal of making small batch premium spirits. The husband-and-wife team of Jeff and Jenny Pennington have succeeded with flying colors, and the Nashville natives have made a name for themselves in the growing Tennessee Whiskey industry. Each of their award-winning Davidson Reserve whiskeys have been distilled, aged and bottled in Nashville, and the line runs the gamut from rye whiskey and straight bourbon whiskey to four-grain whiskey.
The interactive distillery offers up three tour options: a Distillery Tour & Tasting; a Blend Your Own Bottle Experience; and a Single Barrel Flight Tasting. The most unique offering here is the blending experience, which a new sensory adventure for whiskey enthusiasts that allows you the chance to create your own bottle from aging barrels in the rick house. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Pennington, and the distillery tour is included in the TN Whiskey Tour Package, which allows you to pick and choose from various whiskey hotspots.
Tennessee Legend Distillery
This little moonshine oasis inside the Marathon Village complex offers up free samples of flavored goodies all day long. And while the delicious delights might appease most pallets, Tennessee Legend — which has its roots in the Smoky Mountains and has three other locations in the state — also serves up a small batch bourbon called Canebrake and a straight bourbon called Kingsnake.
There’s not much to tour at this Nashville tasting room, but you can pony up to the bar for a fun history lesson and free tastings, of course, of their plethora of flavored moonshines and whiskeys.
Ole Smoky Distillery
Located in SoBro, this popular moonshine distillery partnered with the local YeeHaw Brewing Co. to open a satellite distillery in Nashville. Ole Smoky is headquartered in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and began crafting flavored moonshines and whiskeys in 2010, fast becoming a must-visit spot by tourists each year in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
This fun Nashville iteration offers not only a full distillery tour and tastings, but also live music, large-screen TVs, an outdoor garden for games and a beer garden. With products like Peanut Butter Whiskey and Apple Pie Moonshine, there’s sure to be a ’shine or whiskey to please everyone’s palate.
Must Visit Distilleries NEAR Nashville
Jack Daniel’s Distillery
Located about 90 minutes south of Nashville, the world-famous Jack Daniel’s Distillery welcomes thousands upon thousands of guests each year. Established in 1866 at a site chosen specifically for its natural mineral-rich water, called Cave Spring Hollow, Jack Daniel’s put Lynchburg on the map of world-wide whiskey hotspots. While the Old No. 7 whiskey is the most famous product distilled here, there are also numerous other offerings from single-barrel releases to Gentleman Jack, Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Rye and Tennessee Apple, to name a few.
Jack has several tour options aimed to please everyone from a casual whiskey drinker (or even non-drinker) to hardcore Jack Daniel’s fanatics. From the Angel’s Share Tour to The Taste of Lynchburg, each offering is led by a knowledgeable guide and will give you a peek behind the curtain of one of the world’s largest whiskey distilleries. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Jack Daniel’s, and the distillery tour is included in several public and custom Jack Daniel’s excursions that depart from Nashville.
Cascade Hollow — Home of George Dickel
Just about 75 minutes south of Nashville, the legendary George Dickel Distillery, also known as Cascade Hollow, showcases over 140 years of whiskey-making history to visitors from near and far. George Dickel was a Nashville merchant known for his smooth whiskey, so it’s no wonder he bought into a distillery the first chance he got in 1878. Today, that smooth Tennessee Whiskey tradition continues, and other award-winning come out of the quaint distillery, from George Dickel Bourbon and Rye Whiskey to Bottled-in-Bond and Barrel Select expressions.
The fun and interactive tours at Cascade Hollow are not to be missed, and they range from the standard tour and tasting to a George Dickel Single Barrel Experience where you get to sample through three different barrels and ultimately choose your favorite (and take a bottle home!). Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with George Dickel, and the distillery tour is included in the TN Whiskey Legends Tour, which includes a stop at Jack Daniel’s as well.
Uncle Nearest Distillery
Nearest Green, aka “Uncle Nearest,” was a longtime friend of Jack Daniel’s who taught the legendary distiller most of what he knew about distilling. Jack first met Nearest, an enslaved man at the time, while growing up on a farm — just outside of Lynchburg — owned by Dan Call. The two were so close that when Jack opened his own distillery years later, Nearest Green was his first master distiller. This recently opened distillery in Shelbyville — about an hour south of Nashville — honors Uncle Nearest with its whiskey, its history and its interactive experiences.
In fact, Uncle Nearest Whiskey is the fastest growing and most awarded national brand today, and that’s because the passionate team behind the company is so devoted to spreading the love and knowledge of the man behind their whiskey. The $50 million distillery offers hands-on tours and tastings Thursdays through Sundays, and the gift shop is a must-see while traveling the highways and byways through Tennessee. Plus, sometimes you can score a distillery-only release that is well worth it. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Uncle Nearest, and the distillery tour is included in the TN Whiskey Tour Package, which allows you to pick and choose from various whiskey hotspots.
Opened in 2016, Franklin’s Leiper’s Fork Distillery is dedicated to a farm-to-glass approach — all of Leiper’s whiskeys are made with non-GMO grains that are grown on the distillery’s own farm. (Hard to get much more local than that.) Each mash then gets pot-distilled pre-Prohibition style at a low distillation proof of around 137 to produce a low barrel entry proof of about 110.
Leiper’s Fork offers a distinctive variety of spirits, like a bottled-in-bond Tennessee Whiskey, a 4-year-old bourbon, a 5-year wheated rye and Old Natchez Trace white whiskey, which is an unaged blend of straight whiskey and rye that is filtered through layers of sugar maple charcoal. You can book a tour/tasting — private tour options are available — or a tasting alone. Or heck, just stop by the gift shop and say hello.
Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Leiper’s Fork, and the distillery tour is included in the TN Whiskey Tour Package, which allows you to pick and choose from various whiskey hotspots.
Big Machine Distillery (formerly Tenn. South)
We all know about Tennessee Whiskey. How about a little Tennessee Vodka for a change of pace? Located in Lynnville is Big Machine Distillery, which is focusing on the clear stuff. Formerly known as Tenn. South, the micro-distillery was snatched up in 2015 by music mogul Scott Borchetta, and the award-winning vodka journey began.
But Big Machine’s vodka isn’t like most: Many vodkas are distilled five to six times, but
Big Machine distills 25 times to get all the impurities out and create a cleaner flavor. No one-trick pony, the distillery also produces a Tennessee Whiskey, a New American Style gin, moonshine and single batch bourbons and rums. There are Big Machine tasting locations on 3rd Ave in downtown Nashville or in Berry Hill, or you can take a virtual tour of the distillery online.
Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Big Machine, and the distillery tour is included in the TN Whiskey Tour Package, which allows you to pick and choose from various whiskey hotspots.
Company Distilling (formerly H Clark)
You’ve heard of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, right? Well, maybe you’ve also heard of a fellow named Jeff Arnett, who spent two decades there as master distiller. After winning “Master Distiller of the Year” in 2017, he decided he wanted to take his whiskey into his own hands, acquiring Company Distilling.
Company’s flagship whiskey is a straight bourbon that is finished in maple barrels and bottled at a super-smooth 95 proof. To book a visit — Company Distilling now has two locations, one in Townsend that features a 4,500-square-foot visitors center and restaurant, and one in Thompson’s Station, formerly H Clark. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Company Distilling, and the distillery tour is included in the TN Whiskey Tour Package, which allows you to pick and choose from various whiskey hotspots.
A little more than an hour’s drive from Nashville, Casey Jones Distillery is nestled in Hopkinsville, Ky. Named after the well-known Kentucky moonshiner who is lauded for his unique square copper still designs (and who reportedly was favorite distiller of Al Capone’s), distillation has been steady since 2014. Oh, and the modern Casey Jones Distillery also has a square copper still that you can take a look at.
And while it starts with moonshine, Casey Jones also has a pair of small batch bourbons in its catalog of spirits. Tours and tastings at the distillery start on the hour every day and don’t require a reservation, while food trucks vend at the distillery most weekends, along with live music, all in a quaint, country atmosphere.
Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Casey Jones, and the distillery tour is included in the State Line Tour, which takes you to a handful of distilleries that straddle the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
Located in tiny Pembroke, Ky., about an hour’s drive from downtown Nashville, MB Roland is making a name for itself with its bourbon whiskeys. Making spirits since 2009, MB Roland is a grain-to-grass farm distillery that uses white corn for all its unique products. And the distillery does make some unique whiskey and other products, such as the campfire-smoky MB Roland Dark Fired to a bourbon-barrel-aged Blue Agave spirit. Also on offer is a line of flavored shine, from Pink Lemonade to Blueberry.
Tours and tastings are available seven days a week (barring certain holidays). You can also check out the Stavesman Membership Program, which entitles members to exclusive events, a lifetime 15% discount and advance notice on new releases. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with MB Roland, and the distillery tour is included in the State Line Tour, which takes you to a handful of distilleries that straddle the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
Founded in 1935 and still family-owned and operated, Heaven Hill Distillery is something like whiskey royalty. Its brands, such as Henry McKenna, Larceny and Old Fitzgerald, run the gamut, and it’s the seventh-largest alcohol provider in the U.S., churning out about 1,300 barrels every day. Not much more to say, eh? Actually, there is — in addition to its original Bernheim Distillery, Heaven Hill recently unveiled a state-of-the-art $125 million facility in Bardstown with additional warehouse space and a $19 million visitor center that includes simulated classes for visitors, a theater, a gallery of Heaven Hill history and plenty more.
If you visit the new bourbon experience, which just over a two-hour trek from Nashville, be sure to try the latest Heaven Hill product, Five Brothers, named for the Shapira family that started the distillery originally. And you can take a 3D virtual tour of the Bernheim Distillery online.
Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Heaven Hill, and the distillery tour is included in the Bourbon Bound Tour, which takes you to a couple of Kentucky’s finest bourbon distilleries.
Maker’s Mark is one of the best-known whiskey distilleries in the world. Located in Loretto, Ky., it is perhaps best recognized by its signature red wax bottle seal, or maybe for its long-time friendship with Coca-Cola. The heritage distillery was founded by Bill Samuels Sr. in 1953, and the signature wax was the brainchild of his wife, Marjorie.
Tours of the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery, which is designated as a National Historic Landmark, located about two hours from Nashville, are available seven days a week. Stop by the gift shop and you may find bottles only available at the distillery. Mint Julep Experiences has a unique partnership with Maker’s Mark, and the distillery tour is included in the Maker’s Mark Express Tour, which takes you on a visit to the iconic Kentucky bourbon distillery.
About The Authors
Sara Havens has been a bourbon enthusiast and educator long before the boom began. As a Louisville-based writer, her work has appeared in various national and regional publications, including Bourbon+ Magazine, The Bourbon Review, Alcohol Professor and Food & Dining Magazine. In 2020, Havens was one of 10 finalists in the World’s Top Whiskey Taster competition held by the Bardstown Bourbon Co., beating out more than 400 contenders to represent the Kentucky region. She maintains her own website, barbellelou.com, covering the bourbon industry and local nightlife scene, and in her down time, you can find her leading tours along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® for Mint Julep Experiences.
Kevin Gibson has been a professional writer for more than three decades, having written about restaurants, beer, bourbon, sports, nightlife, music and plenty more. He is author of “This Used to Be Louisville,” “Louisville Beer” and six other published books. In addition, he has won numerous awards from The Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations, but he can’t remember where he put most of them. When he’s not busy writing books or stories about Louisville, he’s likely hanging out at a brewery with his dog, Atticus.