Known more for peaches and moonshine, Georgia has increased its number of bourbon distilleries in recent years. Heck, some say that bootlegging started in the backwoods of the state. Other states would disagree, but we are not here to discuss that topic.
We continue with Part 7 of The Bourbon Flight’s Bourbon Distilleries Across America series, which explores distilleries throughout the United States. This series will introduce bourbon lovers to both known and unknown distilleries.
This is simply an informative piece, not a review, since we have yet to sample the bourbons. We want to inform readers that distilling bourbon is a nationwide love. Tradition and passion run through each bottle of bourbon, from Elmer T. Lee to the unknown distiller.
We cannot highlight every distillery in a state, but we will certainly try to bring the most helpful information to you. We plan on highlighting two states in each Original Pour.
Keep checking back to see when your state is highlighted. We are going in alphabetical order.
ASW Distillery—Atlanta, Georgia
Jim Chasteen and Charlie Thompson met at the University of Georgia and bonded over their shared love of whiskey. With the dream of creating the perfect spirit, the pair founded ASW Distillery in 2011 with the goal of incorporating new grain profiles, aging techniques and flavors.
The dream has grown to three locations in Atlanta. Each is beautifully decorated in its own style, with leather seats, views of the stills and other amenities. Each site also offers public and private events.
The tasting rooms are not just for show: ASW makes award-winning bourbon and produced the first straight bourbon distilled in Atlanta since Prohibition. Its “Fiddler” brand has three expressions: Unison, Georgia Heartwood, and Soloist. You will be entertained and treated with Southern hospitality wherever you visit.
Independent Distilling Co.—Decatur, Georgia
Independent Distilling was created in 2014 to produce small-batch handcrafted spirits focusing on local and quality ingredients in Georgia.
The founders had a tough time opening the tasting room due to Georgia’s outdated laws but nevertheless, Tommy Williams and Michael Anderson found a way to make it happen. Its first bourbon was created in 2015 and named Hellbender.
The distillery recently moved to a larger space with three buildings, a courtyard and a tasting room. It’s a true garage distillery—which is how the owners and patrons like it. Outdoor seating with high-top barrel tables and stools surrounds the front of the building. The inside is bare but cozy, with a bar and a fine selection of premium spirits.
Legends Distillery—Cumming, Georgia
Legends Distillery wants to be known as a meeting point between old and new, between tradition and innovation.
The distillery uses “Quantum Purity,” a patent process of reducing the impurities in alcohol by at least 50%. They believe this gives the distillery the best-tasting spirit available.
Founder Michael Gerard began in 2007 and with his technology, he knew that he had a cleaner, purer spirit. All the spirits are on-hand at Legends’ 5,000-square-foot tasting room. The distillery also features outdoor seating, leather lounge chairs and a slick wood bar.
Moonrise Distillery—Clayton, Georgia
There is more to this distillery than meets the eye. Still wanting to do things the old-fashion way, owner Dough Nassaur’s only desire is to use local ingredients. Admittedly inefficient, the family manages the distillery, tours and gift shop.
Stay for the spirits, but enjoy the county-style preserves, sauces, pickles and, more importantly, spirit-infused ice cream. The renovated speakeasy decorated like an old mountain cabin incorporates a relaxing vibe. The retail shop has ready-to-drink cocktails and locally grown food products.
The tour allows samples of 20 award-winning spirits. Flights are available with no reservation needed. On the right night, you could catch a band or two playing on stage, all while enjoying the pet-friendly covered porch. I can see why this place was voted the No. 1 distillery in Georgia by James magazine.
R.M Rose & Company Distillers—Dillard, Georgia
As a son of a north Georgia moonshiner, Andy Sudderth knew he loved the art of distilling. Bringing back the name R.M. Rose Co., which disbanded in 1917, he reopened in 2016 and began distilling products.
The distillery has a stone façade with more of an old Georgia style instead of the newer city distilleries. In keeping with his father’s passion, R.M. Rose does produce a ton of legal moonshine, but the real hidden spirit is five bottled bourbons.
The Randolph Rose Bourbon won the 2022 Triple Gold Medal Award for Extraordinary Taste & Highest Recommendation in the Bottled in Bond Rye category from Micro Liquor. With free tastings and tours, why wouldn’t you want to visit this distillery?
Thirteenth Colony Distillery—Americus, Georgia
Thirteenth Colony Distilleries opened in 2009 and is the state’s oldest operating distillery. A group of friends formed the distillery after wanting to make some holiday gifts for friends. Thirteenth Colony prides itself on its ingredients, using corn from its own private farm and water from the oldest aquifer in the Southeast.
With a relaxed and chill atmosphere, the tasting room allows you to sample the distillery’s award-winning spirits like its 13th Colony Southern Bourbon. Bourbon drinkers will immediately notice the bottle design: It is reminiscent of the Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon bottle or Willett’s Pot Still bottle.
The small distillery, which celebrated its 13th anniversary this year, does not promote much but allows the spirits to stand independently. With higher proof, the bourbon hits all the marks for a top whiskey.
Sorry, no bourbon for you.
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