Whiskey Wednesday: Prichard's Expands; Belle Meade Bourbon Honored by Garden & Gun

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Tennessee-based whiskeys have been making a bunch of news lately. While Kentucky still dominates the industry, folks are beginning to look a little farther south for innovative products, and we're lucky to have new products and distilleries springing up all over.

First off, Prichard's Distillery, based out of Kelso, Tenn., has announced that they plan to open a second manufacturing facility at the Fontanel in Nashville. For 15 years, Prichard's has developed a large portfolio of spirits out of their distillery just north of the Alabama border, but now they see the opportunity to bring their show to the big city. Phil Prichard is the patriarch of the current brand, but five generations ago his ancestors were known for making some of the finest whiskey in Davidson County.

Now Prichard's will be building a new distillery to the 136-acre property at the Fontanel Mansion off Whites Creek Pike. Hopefully by next spring, visitors will be able to watch Prichard's small batches of rum and whiskey being made using classic copper-pot-still techniques. I've reviewed several of their products here on Bites, and I look forward to seeing them a little closer to home.

Meanwhile, the Nelson brothers of Green Brier Distillery, the impetus behind Belle Meade Bourbon, made the news recently when they were named as runners-up in the Food and Drink division of Garden & Gun magazine's third-annual "Made in the South" awards.

Some would quibble that Indiana, where Belle Meade Bourbon is currently distilled, may not exactly be "the South." But if Charleston chef Mike Lata, who judged the category, believes in Belle Meade Bourbon, that's quite an endorsement.

The specific locale where most spirits are distilled is often a source of controversy, as many, many of your favorite products are made from grains harvested in one state, distilled in another, aged in yet another and bottled wherever is most advantageous to the distillery owner. Personally, I rarely drink with a map in my hand. What really matters is how good the end product is, and in Belle Meade Bourbon's case, folks are voting with their glasses. The product continues to grow in sales and reach, and I imagine it will show up in more than a few Christmas stockings this year.

If you are a stickler for Tennessee products, Green Brier should soon have some good news to announce for you. Their business plan has always called for the construction of a local distilling facility, and they are making good progress on exactly that. Stay tuned to this space for more information as it becomes available. Until then, congratulations to Charlie and Andy Nelson for this prestigious recognition and keep bringing in the good hooch, boys!

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