The Chattanooga Whiskey Story
Inspired by our city's rich distilling history, Chattanooga Whiskey was founded 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 over a century. In 2015, we began the patient process of crafting our malt-forward style of straight bourbon whiskey we call Tennessee High Malt. After 8 years in the making, our Tennessee High Malt was released in August 2019, marking a new era in our company history with a whiskey that celebrates the future as much as the history that got us here today.
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.
Chattanooga becomes a North American distilling hub, with over 30 distilleries and 98 liquor dealers coming into establishment.
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.
National Prohibition Act.
Post-National Prohibition. State laws permit 3 counties to distill spirits – Lincoln, Moore and Coffee.
Tim Piersant and Joe Ledbetter begin researching Chattanooga distilling laws, formulate plan to bring whiskey back to Hamilton County.
Chattanooga Whiskey Co. founded. Company announces intentions to help change Chattanooga distilling laws.
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.
Both 1816 Reserve and Cask are released into distribution.
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.
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.
Team hires former brewer, Grant McCracken as Head Distiller.
Chattanooga Whiskey “100” released – the first whiskey produced in Chattanooga in 100 years.
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.
Chattanooga Whiskey 91 and Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111, the Only Tennessee High Malt Whiskey, are released from the Riverfront Distillery.
The community of Ross’s Landing incorporates as the city of Chattanooga – a Muscogee word meaning "rock rising to a point" – describing Lookout Mountain.
Prohibition in Tennessee begins, a full 10 years prior to the national prohibition. Production of whiskey is prohibited.
Tennessee prohibition laws become increasingly strict, and Chattanooga’s remaining distilleries are forced to shut down.
“Bone Dry Bill” brings full prohibition to Tennessee, eliminating possession and distribution loopholes.
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).
On October 14, 2011 “Would you Drink Chattanooga Whiskey?” appears on social media. Community response is overwhelming.
Vote Whiskey campaign is launched, further galvanizing public support to change century-old distilling laws.
House Bill 102 (Senate Bill 129), nicknamed “The Whiskey Bill”, is drafted and sponsored by Joe Carr, R-Lascassas
“Whiskey Bill” nearly derailed after a disguised lobbying group attempts to amend HB 102, thereby making the legislation inoperable.
HB 102, “The Whiskey Bill”, passes with 57 House members in favor and 31 opposed. Bill Haslam signs into law on May 16, 2013.
Whiskey production begins at Experimental Distillery – the first time in 100 years followed by the grand opening on March 24, 2015.
Company begins work on a 45,000 sq ft. Riverfront Distillery - a facility with enough capacity to produce 50-60 barrels/week.
Riverfront Distillery goes online, begins producing a number of recipes selected from their Experimental Distillery.
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.
Tennessee Rye Malt, the newest addition to the Tennessee High Malt family, is released.