A visit to the Smoky Mountains is not complete without seeing firsthand how moonshine is made! Sugarlands Distilling Company, which is located in downtown Gatlinburg, is the perfect place to observe the distilling process, try a few flavors in the tasting area, buy some souvenirs to take home, and catch a live band.
When you get to Sugarlands Distilling, you will feel like you are stepping back in time. The barn-house exterior and interior was designed using wood salvaged from four East Tennessee barns. The 150 year-old reclaimed wood combined with the active still house, back porch, sippin’ stations, and a moonshine-running truck.
The award-winning shine that Sugarland Shine produces is no secret (more on that below) and now every visitor can watch how its made. The Sugarlands Still House, which is located on the right side of the store, puts the whole process on display for the general public. Here, you will see a stone mill, fermenter, copper still, distillation column, and spirit safe.
By this point, you are likely ready to taste the moonshine. Good news – there are three sippin’ stations that feature regular tastings anytime the doors are open.Recently, the City of Gatlinburg started requiring distilleries to a nominal fee for moonshine and whiskey tastings – expect to pay $5 to try 12 flavors.
Upset about the new $5 tasting fee? Good news – Sugarlands will give you a $5 voucher towards any purchase of moonshine or souvenirs, which basically makes the tasting free if you were planning on buying anything.
Our Favorite Flavors of Sugarland Shine:
Mark & Digger’s Rye Apple – With flavors of nutmeg, allspice, and apple pastries working in tandem with the shine’s 80-proof strength, this Sugarland Shine flavor makes for easy sipping! Our staff had the opportunity to sit down with these two Discovery Channel Moonshiners stars and discuss the launch and origin of this exciting flavor – here is the video.
Silver Cloud Tennessee Mash – The undeniable flavors of fresh Tennessee corn and cane sugar are not enough to take the bite out of this 100-proof traditional shine. This is an authentic sipping shine!
Butterscotch Gold – Nervous about trying moonshine and wanting to start out with an easier flavor? Try this incredibly easy-to-drink, low-alcohol (40-proof) flavor. The perfect combination of brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla will ensure this jar stays in your hand long past the first sip!
Mint Condition Peppermint – This refreshing 100-proof shine is one of the stronger flavors offered by Sugarland Shine, but the peppermint combined with undertones of cocoa and cream creates a smooth and pleasant finish.
-If you didn’t know to look, you could easily miss out on the live music. Go all the way to the back of the retail store and you will find a listening area and stage that regularly features talented acts.
-Want to learn more about how Sugarland Shine is made? The distillery offers free tours on regular basis and you can sign up for these all day long. In addition to the free tours, Sugarlands offers premium tours for only $15 that include a 30-minute tour, moonshine mixing class, and blended sampling.
Sugarland Shine can be purchased at Sugarlands Distilling Company in downtown Gatlinburg. The distillery and tasting room can be found on the main Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg near the across the street from the Space Needle next to Walgreens.
*Photos and review produced by our on staff journalists who are in no way affiliated with the brand reviewed on this page. Additional images fully licensed with permission by author.