If you're looking to venture outside the confines of our community to visit a blossoming tourist spot in Cannon County, I have a place that's worth a shot.
Short Mountain Distillery has been open since 2012 and is gaining prominence as a place to visit thanks to its café, distillery tours, and free moonshine tastings. It’s located on a 400-acre farm on Short Mountain Road and is open every Thursday thru Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to regular foot traffic during business hours, it’s becoming a signature place for special events like weddings.
Billy Kaufman owns Short Mountain Distillery with his brothers, Ben and David.
Billy was born in Los Angeles and grew up working in the film industry, producing and writing.
He wanted a complete life change when he moved to Tennessee 16 years ago and bought a farm. He started working with some local moonshiners, although with no intention of making his farm into a distillery. When Tennessee laws changed and it was legal to have a distillery, Billy became intoxicated by the possibilities.
Billy was discouraged at first because Cannon County was a dry county at the time. Then a friend suggested a referendum. Billy got enough signatures, the issue made the ballot, and Cannon County voters made it legal to have a distillery.
“It was kind of fun to do that and change a law. Once I got hundreds of people involved, I felt like I had to follow through and open the distillery,” said Billy. “Alcohol is such a great gift. It brings celebration. It brings an altered state to the mind to celebrate life. Within moderation, it’s a wonderful celebratory thing and that’s how I see alcohol.”
While many people associate the distillery with moonshine, Billy says he is expanding his offerings to include bourbon and whiskey. He says aged spirits command greater respect than moonshine.
“We make the best moonshine in the world and that’s always going to be part of our operation, but probably 90 percent of what we make now is aged spirits,” said Billy. “I’d really like to hear people say we make a great bourbon or a great whiskey. People take you more seriously.”
Billy says he has a batch of bourbon that’s due to come of age in July after some four years of aging. Billy admits the waiting game has been a test of patience.
“You know how tough it is when you bake a cake and put it in the oven for 45 minutes,” said Billy. “That 45 minutes seems like forever. Well imagine waiting about four years.”
The café is gaining a reputation for its tasty food that includes burgers, chicken, salads, and even a veggie pita. Mixed drinks are available along with a moonshine brownie. Every Sunday you can expect brunch followed by live bluegrass music.
The distillery, café and tasting room are open during regular business hours. Guided tours are given Friday thru Sunday, cost $10, and take about 45 minutes to an hour.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift, the distillery offers the option of picking out your own aging 5-gallon barrel of whiskey. You can choose from six different recipes, decide the proof, and add your own name or company logo.
“Just like sports brand their area, the distillery brands the community and gives a destination to the area,” said Billy. “I am not going to get rich having a distillery. It’s mostly work but I am creating jobs, tourism and culture and I enjoy it.”
The business is also looking to expand. Billy hopes to see a bed and breakfast open on the farm in the future and would be willing to give someone the land to build it.
Billy is pleased Short Mountain Distillery is listed on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, which is made up of approximately 30 distilleries across the state. The 10-day itinerary begins in Nashville, makes its way to East Tennessee, Chattanooga and West Tennessee, and includes distilleries such as Jack Daniel and George Dickel.
As part of promoting the heritage of Tennessee spirits, Billy says Short Mountain Distillery will have a booth at next year’s Bonnaroo. He will serve cocktails, provide information, and have his spirits available to sell in plastic bottles. He hammered out the details with Bonnaroo organizers during this year’s festival.
“I’m probably the only person who has gone to Bonnaroo for one hour and left,” said Billy.
Billy believes his Tennessee bourbon whiskey and Tennessee whiskeys are the future of the company. Short Mountain Distillery plans to have a fundraiser festival with a Halloween theme this fall. Proceeds will benefit the local volunteer fire department. Plans are to have music and a live action haunted woods with ghosts and monsters on the farm.
According to online map services, Short Mountain Distillery is 24 miles from downtown McMinnville at 8280 Short Mountain Road. To get there, take Yager Road to the 3-way stop. Turn onto Short Mountain Road and keep driving until you see the distillery on the right.
The phone number is (615) 216-0830.Website, www.shortmountaindistillery.com.
Terry Kidd on Global Committee
The owner of our local Ford dealership is an influential man when it comes to Ford products and the direction of the company.
Many local residents may not realize Terry Kidd is a sitting member on Ford’s Global Committee and its Product Committee. As a result, Terry has been spending time at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., providing his input.
“It’s really neat because Ford has a true partnership with its dealers in developing the products it wants to market,” said Terry.
The Global Committee includes members from 14 dealerships around the world. Terry says this includes members from China, India, Germany, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and other countries.
“It’s a very diverse group and it’s interesting to see the way they view the world compared to the way I see it,” said Terry. “In a lot of ways it’s very different, but in some ways it’s similar.”
Terry says the Product Committee evaluates vehicles as far as 10 years away from hitting the road. This includes discussions, test drives and other measures.
Terry says vehicles and their on-board computers are increasingly going to perform functions that are currently done by people. This includes things like crash-avoidance braking and the big one, self-driving cars.
“The thing I worry about when it comes to automation is the more we let computers do things for us, the more we lose our own senses,” said Terry.
The technology is currently available for self-driving cars, Terry says, but he believes it will take some time to finalize regulations before such vehicles make their way to consumers. He also points out the self-driving feature will be an expensive addition and he’s not sure if such a feature will be popular in a market like Warren County with rural driving conditions.
“Vehicles are constantly evolving and I think that’s true with any product,” said Terry. “Look at TVs. The big thing now is to have a flat screen, but we’re also seeing curved screens. That’s because people are always craving something new.”
Terry says the 2018 models are about three months away from their arrival in September.
Caveman Challenge creates excitement
Eating challenges bring a certain level of intrigue. There’s something about a person trying to eat an excessive amount of food, in a short amount of time, which always proves strangely entertaining.
Tate’s Burger at 1107 Sparta Street has started a Caveman Challenge. It involves eating a monstrous 3-pound hamburger, 1 pound of french fries, and drinking a 2-liter beverage in 30 minutes.
If you can finish it all, drink every drop and eat every bite, your meal is free. But if you fail, the price is $30.
Tate’s Burger owner Joe Tate started the Caveman Challenge on Thursday. Joseph Munoz was the first to accept the challenge, followed shortly thereafter by Kalem Lyle.
Asked why he would attempt such an improbable feat, Joseph said, “I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten all day.”
When asked the same question, Kalem said he’s always had a healthy appetite and thought the challenge might be fun.
Watching the two guys eat reminded me of my last camping trip. Everybody is all smiles for the group photo before heading into the woods. But it’s a different photo when you emerge from the woods ravaged by bug bites and without a shower for three days. Folks aren't filled with glee.
That was the scene Thursday when happy faces were replaced by painful looks as Joseph and Kalem realized the fun had vanished. Joseph ate vigorously for 28 minutes before deciding to quit. Kalem stopped after 20 minutes. Both men left with doggie bags.
In assessing his Caveman Challenge, Joe said, “I think there are some people who could knock it out. We’ll see how it goes. If too many people start completing it, I may have to increase the size of the burger.”
If nothing else, Joe says the eating challenge has been a huge conversation piece. He says he has T-shirts on the way which will soon be available as part of the prize for anyone who finishes the meal in 30 minutes.
Several onlookers have said Southern Standard ad director Jeffery Simmons has the best chance to complete the Caveman Challenge of any local resident. I agree with this assessment.
Rocky Top Sno ready to chill
The official start of summer is this Wednesday which means one thing. The Southern Standard’s annual customer appreciation day with free banana splits is this Friday.
Stop by the newspaper office on College Street from 1 to 3:30 p.m. to enjoy an ice cream treat and register to win door prizes like a grill and cooler.
The start of summer also means it’s hot outside and a great way to beat the heat is with a Hawaiian shaved ice from Rocky Top Sno, a new business which opened Friday. Ryan Walker and Jennifer Evans are the owners.
There are more than 20 yummy flavors in which to choose, including key lime pie, grape, cheesecake, butter pecan, strawberry, vanilla, cherry, and wedding cake.
“McMinnville doesn’t have a business like this,” said Ryan as lines were forming outside his trailer which was parked at Plaza Shopping Center across from Stacked Bistro.
Added Jennifer, “It’s almost like eating ice cream. It’s like sno cream.”
The good news is people are excited about Rocky Top Sno and eager to give it a try. Business was hectic while I was there Friday afternoon.
The bad news is Rocky Top Sno is not ready to set regular business hours.
“We both have full-time jobs so this is going to have to be a part-time thing,” said Ryan, who indicated hours will be in the afternoon.
When open, the trailer will be at the same spot at Plaza Shopping Center. You might also catch them at weekend events as Ryan said that’s one reason they placed the business in a trailer so it can be portable.
Cheers to Morrison Industries
Employees from Morrison Industries should be applauded.
They have joined more than 10,000 volunteers across North America to participate in Honda’s second annual National Week of Service in which Honda associates, dealers and suppliers conduct volunteer service activities to make a positive impact in their communities.
In efforts to help improve Morrison School’s playground, volunteers laid a border and mulched a section of the playground for the children.
“Through this coordinated week of volunteer projects across North America, we are joining Honda in reinforcing the Team Honda spirit of working together to make a difference in the communities where we live and work,” said Kimberly Shelton of Morrison Industries. “Morrison Industries and its employees are happy to partner with Morrison School to make a positive impact in the community we call home.”
The week of service coincided with the company’s Founder’s Day, which marks the establishment of the first Honda business operation in North America on June 11, 1959.
That’s all folks
Remember to stop by the Standard this Friday, June 23, for discount subscriptions and free banana splits. Your wallet, and your mouth, will thank you.