Breaking News
More () »

Corn from a jar | Moonshine history tour opens in Sevierville at Tennessee Shine Company

Finally, a place that can explain how all the folks on Rocky Top get their corn from a jar.

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — It's one of the first-ever legitimate moonshine tours in the world, at least that's the way it starts off.

Tennessee Shine Company is a relatively new player to the moonshine game in Sevier County, opening up its original distillery in Wears Valley less than 10 years ago.

Now, the moonshine company has four locations in Sevier County with their newest one right on the Parkway and home to the ‘Moonshine Tour.’

About 5,000 square feet of the massive storefront are dedicated to an immersive history museum, detailing moonshine's impact on the lives of East Tennesseans.

Casey Treat with Tennessee Shine Comapny gave 10News a tour, along with moonshiners Red Utley and Mike Cockrell. 

Cockrell is most known for his role on the show 'Moonshiners,' which airs on the Discovery Channel. He and Utley helped build the attraction.

RELATED: Chattanooga man gets nationally recognized on TV for making great moonshine

It starts with a look at an old bootlegging truck, touches on the history of moonshine in Appalachia, shows visitors the main ingredients in any batch of the drink and walks them through the original distilling process.

There are stops along the way for moonshine myth-busting and distillery disasters. A small movie theater plays clips about the history of the company and moonshine's role in the last few hundred years of the area.

Bourbon the Bear sits next to the old distillery, a display that turns on with a push of a button. Bourbon will growl if visitors get too close to him.

Treat said the addition of a black bear highlights some of the dangers historic moonshiners faced while distilling.

"You're mashing in fruit and stuff like that and you're mashing it out in the woods," said Utley. "You're gonna have a draw for bears to come in just like any other food source."

The next stop is a look at moonshine's impact on NASCAR, including the real car from a head distiller and NASCAR driver Blake Jones. 

"NASCAR stands for 'non-athletic sport centered around rednecks,'" said Utley. "You just drive fast and turn left."

Moonshine's role in pop culture and prohibition are highlighted, complete with a trip to the big house if you got caught and were thrown behind bars. Or worse, sent to the electric chair.

RELATED: UT researchers tackle science behind the smoothness of Tennessee whiskey

It all comes together to give you a taste of why moonshine matters.

"That's the way people put bread on the table back 100 years ago," said Cockrell. "It was currency, it was just as good as a dollar bill. It built this country as we know it today."

Treat said the idea came to the team as they were planning their Sevierville location, wanting to make this moonshine experience different from others.

"There's really nothing like that, nothing for the folks to really experience," he said. "Anybody can go through to any distillery and taste it but when you get to walk through and see the whole process start to finish, we'll be making liquor on-site, and knowing that we do everything here traditionally it's gonna make the difference."

This location is only a week old, so there are still some finishing touches to come. Soon visitors will see some of the machinery and can watch the distilling process in action.

Tennessee Shine Company offers free moonshine and wine tastings for visitors. Tickets for the history tour are $10.

RELATED: Moonshine distillery one step closer to setting up shop near Dandridge

Before You Leave, Check This Out