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The Chattanooga Whiskey Story

The Chattanooga Whiskey Story

Inspired by our city's rich distilling history, Chattanooga Whiskey’s story began in 2011 with a mission to bring back "Whiskey to the People." Following the success of our community-powered Vote Whiskey campaign, we eventually became the first distillery in Chattanooga in a century. In 2015, we began the patient process of crafting our malt-forward style of straight bourbon we call Tennessee High Malt - a whiskey that celebrates the future as much as the history that got us here today.

1816

John Ross establishes a trading post on the banks of the Tennessee River – what is now the corner of Market Street and Riverfront Parkway. The location becomes known as Ross’s Landing.

1860s-1900s

Chattanooga becomes a North American distilling hub, with over 30 distilleries and 98 liquor dealers coming into establishment.

1860s-1900s

1915

Police Commissioner and local distiller caught smuggling whiskey out of the state, in coffins. One of the last mentions of distilling in Chattanooga, pre prohibition.

1915

1920-1933

National Prohibition Act.

1933-2009

Post-National Prohibition. State laws permit 3 counties to distill spirits – Lincoln, Moore and Coffee.

2011

Tim Piersant and Joe Ledbetter begin researching Chattanooga distilling laws, formulate plan to bring whiskey back to Hamilton County.

NOV. 2011

Chattanooga Whiskey Co. founded. Company announces intentions to help change Chattanooga distilling laws.

JAN. 2012

As they begin their law-changing efforts, the company approaches Lawrenceburg Distillers of Indiana (LDI) to produce a whiskey for them, select a high-rye bourbon recipe and purchase first barrels.

APRIL 2012

Both 1816 Reserve and Cask are released into distribution.

APRIL 2012

NOV. 2012

Tim and Joe take their efforts to change laws to the local government. Present a pro-economic case to a crowded Hamilton County commission chamber. With substantial community support behind them, commission votes 7-0 to adopt a nonbinding resolution to the Tennessee General Assembly, requesting the state law to be amended.

NOV. 2012

SEPT. 2014

Chattanooga Whiskey begins development on Experimental micro-distillery on Market St. Designed to be the home of their R&D process, making only ~1 barrel/week.

DEC. 2014

Team hires former brewer, Grant McCracken as Head Distiller.

DEC. 2014

NOV. 2015

Chattanooga Whiskey “100” released – the first whiskey produced in Chattanooga in 100 years.

NOV. 2015

AUG. 2017

Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Single Batch Series launches with Batch 001 – A “Tennessee High Malt” Bourbon – the first aged whiskey released in Chattanooga in 102 years.

AUG. 2017

1839

The community of Ross’s Landing incorporates as the city of Chattanooga – a Muscogee word meaning "rock rising to a point" – describing Lookout Mountain.

1839

1909

Prohibition in Tennessee begins, a full 10 years prior to the national prohibition. Production of whiskey is prohibited.

1915

Tennessee prohibition laws become increasingly strict, and Chattanooga’s remaining distilleries are forced to shut down.

1917

“Bone Dry Bill” brings full prohibition to Tennessee, eliminating possession and distribution loopholes.

1917

2009

After Great Recession, Tennessee lawmakers vote 57-26 in favor of expanding spirits production to 41 additional Tennessee counties. This expansion does not include Hamilton County (Chattanooga, TN).

OCT. 2011

On October 14, 2011 “Would you Drink Chattanooga Whiskey?” appears on social media. Community response is overwhelming.

OCT. 2011

AUG. 2012

Vote Whiskey campaign is launched, further galvanizing public support to change century-old distilling laws.

AUG. 2012

JAN. 2013

House Bill 102 (Senate Bill 129), nicknamed “The Whiskey Bill”, is drafted and sponsored by Joe Carr, R-Lascassas

MARCH 2013

“Whiskey Bill” nearly derailed after a disguised lobbying group attempts to amend HB 102, thereby making the legislation inoperable.

MAY 2013

HB 102, “The Whiskey Bill”, passes with 57 House members in favor and 31 opposed. Bill Haslam signs into law on May 16, 2013.

MAY 2013

MARCH 2015

Whiskey production begins at Experimental Distillery – the first time in 100 years followed by the grand opening on March 24, 2015.

MARCH 2015

JULY 2016

Company begins work on a 45,000 sq ft. Riverfront Distillery - a facility with enough capacity to produce 50-60 barrels/week.

MARCH 2017

Riverfront Distillery goes online, begins producing a number of recipes selected from their Experimental Distillery.

MARCH 2017

SEPT. 2018

The Road to Tennessee High Malt begins – a month-by-month release of 10 single barrels, selected from the first 100 produced at the Experimental Distillery - culminating with Barrel #91, the future flagship recipe.

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