Knox Whiskey Works, Knoxville’s First Distillery, Set to Open Downtown This Spring

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Permits have been requested, a space found, plans drawn and construction started on Knoxville’s first distillery. Knox Whiskey Works will be located at 516 West Jackson Avenue in the Jackson Avenue Workshops building across from the McClung Warehouse site. It’s a very cool space that once included an apartment, which is how I first saw it on a City People home tour six or eight years ago. Work has started on clearing out some of the unnecessary elements of the apartment to make way for the distillery.

The project is backed by a number of partners, including Cindy Nichols, Anne Ford and Stanton Webster, who met me for an interview and a look at the new space. Some of you may know him as a bartender at Suttrees, but he’s been around downtown for a long time. You may have connected with him at Tomato Head in the 1990s or through his work with Holly Hambright. He operated several kitchens, helped Gregg White get La Costa off the ground when it first opened on Market Square. He’s worked at Nama when it was on the 100 block and he’s worked with Anne and Matt at Suttree’s since they opened.

Interestingly, though he has a love of whiskey, it may be more his agricultural background that prepared him best for the project. He grew up on a cattle farm, majored in agriculture at UT and always wondered why the deck seemed to be stacked against smaller agricultural endeavors. For this reason he values farms operated with sustainable methods and is very excited to have Riverplains Farm as a partner to provide the corn needed for the distillery. They grow only non-GMO, organic corn.

Stanton Webster, Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Stanton Webster, Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Stanton Webster, Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Stanton Webster, Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Old City White Whiskey, their first product will be a non-aged white whiskey. They have plans to do aged and other varieties of whiskey, but that takes time, so the initial offering will be un-aged. The entire process will take place at the Jackson Avenue location from the fermenting to the distilling, aging, bottling and labeling. The grinding will be done at Valentine Mills in Dandridge. The Jackson Avenue location will – maybe most importantly to you guys – include a small tasting room and retail space just off the street.

The operation will definitely be a craft distillery. Stanton laughed as he told me, “We’ll make in a month’s time what Jack Daniels spills in a day.” With the product grown, milled and distilled in east Tennessee, it will maintain a very local connection. You can expect any new lines to have similar Knoxville/East Tennessee-centric names as the first line. One of the partners has a physics background, which is helpful. All the partners are currently learning the business as rapidly as possible.

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Anyone who has paid attention to Tennessee’s liquor laws knows how strange and bizarre they can seem. Cari Wade Gervin wrote one of the final cover stories in Metro Pulse on the topic. Just the fact that we’ve tied ourselves in knots over wine in grocery stores and still tell restaurants how many seats they must have to serve wine gives a pretty good indication of where we stand. The web may even be more tangled when it comes to production of alcohol and particularly craft whiskey. Still, Stanton indicates everyone involved has been very helpful and that it’s important they consider any precedence they may be setting.

He likes the connection of regional agriculture, production and retail and is pleased to be a part of that process. The larger group of partners will soon be announced and all are excited to get up and running, which will be sometime this spring, but as soon as possible. Sanders Pace Architecture developed the plans and the group is in the process of selecting a general contractor. It’s another step in Jackson Avenue growing up to be what we expected: one of downtown’s coolest corridors. Follow the Facebook link at the top and give them a “like,” and get ready for something completely different. We’ve got another reason to look forward to spring in the city.

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 506 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

Future Home of Knox Whiskey Works, 516 West Jackson, Knoxville, November 2014

The Downtown Knoxville Week (And a Day) Ahead (11/23 – 11/30/14)

Patrick Sullivan's

If you see an event I’ve missed and you’d like to plug, please comment below or e-mail me (knoxvilleurbanguy@gmail.com) and I’ll try to add it. The list may, accordingly, be expanded through the week. Staying true to the scope of the blog, I’ll only list downtown or near-downtown events. Any number of venues outside of downtown have some great events, but I have to draw a line somewhere. If you want to add those in a comment, that’s fine. Please : “Friend” me on Facebook and invite me to your events. Look over to the right of this post and not only “friend” me, but “like” Inside of Knoxville. Subscribe (also to the right) to make sure you catch all the posts.

Sunday, November 23

  • UT Ice Vols vs. N.C. State, Knoxville Coliseum, Noon, $1 – $5
  • Shifflett and Hannah, Bistro at the Bijou, Noon – 2:00 PM
  • Lisa Soland signs and reads from “The Unmade Moose,” (ed. children’s Christmas book), Union Avenue Books, 2:00 PM
  • KARM Baskets of Hope, Free Thanksgiving Baskets, Under the Overpass Between Gay and Williams, 2:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Powerman 5000, The Concourse at the International, 6:00 PM, $18
  • Knoxville Opera Presents “H.M.S. Pinafore”, Tennessee Theatre, 2:30 PM, $18 – $95
  • Justin Townes Earle, Bijou Theatre, 8:00 PM, $21.50
  • Open Mic Comedy Night, Preservation Pub, 8:00 PM
  • JP Harris and the Tough Choices, Barley’s, 8:00 PM
  • Riff Raff, The International, 9:00 PM, $20 – $40
  • Sugar Plum Blue, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM

Monday, November 24

Tuesday, November 25

  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: W. James Taylor / Matt Townsend & the Wonder of the World (Folk), Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • Singer/Songwriter Open Mic, Preservation Pub, 7:00 PM
  • City Council Meeting, Large Assembly Room City/County Bldg, 7:00 PM
  • Einstein Simplified Comedy Improv, Scruffy City Hall, 8:00 PM
  • Taylor Kress Band, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM
  • Kristina Murray, Barley’s, 10:00 PM

Wednesday, November 26

  • Fantasy of Trees, Convention Center, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Free – $8
  • Blue Plate Special: Chris Darby / Matt Woods, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 7:30 PM, $15 – $22
  • Friendly Town, Episode 4, Jason Boardman, Eliot Rahal and Jake Watkins, Pilot Light, 8:00 PM
  • Blint Bratzer, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 8:00 PM, Free
  • Barry Roseman, Bistro at the Bijou, 8:00 PM
  • Kill the Noise, The International, 9:00 PM, $15 – $30

Thursday, November 27

Friday, November 28

  • Fantasy of Trees, Convention Center, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Free – $8
  • Holidays on Ice: Ice Skating Rink opens on Market Square
  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: Fernando Fidanza (Singer-Songwriter) / Mink’s Miracle Medicine, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • Regal Celebration of Lights (Lighting of the Christmas Tree), Krutch Park, 6:00 PM
  • Brownie’s Black Friday Blues Bash, Devon Jones and the Uptown Stomp, Labron Lazenby, Robinella, Relix Theatre, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Knoxville Ice Bears vs. Fayetteville Fireants, Knoxville Coliseum, 7:30 PM, $10 – $30
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 7:30, $15 – $42
  • The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays,” Theatre Knoxville Downtown, 8:00 PM, $15
  • Swingbooty, Preservation Pub, 8:00 PM
  • Levi Kreis, The Square Room, 8:00 PM, $15 – $18
  • Aligning Minds, The Concourse at the International, 9:00 PM, Free
  • Knox County Jug Stompers, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 10:00 PM, Free
  • Wild Things, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM
  • Strung Like a Horse, Scruffy City Hall, 10:00 PM
  • The Big Wooley, Barley’s, 10:00 PM

Saturday, November 29

  • Fantasy of Trees, Convention Center, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Free – $8
  • Be Social, Shop Local Holiday Boutique, Paulk and Company (510 Williams Street), 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Author Lisa Soland reads from and signs, The Unmade Moose, Theatre Knoxville Downtown, 11:00 AMWDVX Blue Plate Special: Lakeside (Bluegrass/Gospel) / Crosspoint (Bluegrass/Gospel), Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 7:30 PM, $15 – $32
  • The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays,” Theatre Knoxville Downtown, 8:00 PM, $15
  • Blackberry Smoke, Tennessee Theatre, 8:00 PM, $27 – $49
  • Consider the Source, The Concourse at the International, 9:00 PM, $5
  • Devon Jones and the Uptown Stomp, Bistro at the Bijou, 9:00 PM
  • Grits and Soul, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 10:00 PM, Free
  • Burnin Hermans, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM
  • Sex Knuckle, Scruffy City Hall, 10:00 PM
  • The Band Tribute, Barley’s, 10:00 PM

Sunday, November 30

  • Fantasy of Trees, Convention Center, Noon – 6:00 PM, Free – $8
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 2:00 PM, $15 – $32
  • The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays,” Theatre Knoxville Downtown, 2:00 PM, $13
  • Shifflett and Hannah, Bistro at the Bijou, 9:00 PM
  • Keyboards at Christmas, Benefit for Mission of Hope Tennessee Theatre, 6:00 PM, $15
  • Benefit for Jim “Hatchet,” VanKale, The International, 6:00 PM, $10
  • Open Mic Comedy Night, Preservation Pub, 8:00 PM

What is Historic Preservation?

Kim Trent Introduces the 2014 Knox Heritage Preservation Awards

The 2014 version of the Knox Heritage Preservation Awards took place last night in the Bijou Theatre. The setting itself is significant because our city's modern preservation efforts first coalesced around the effort to preserve the Bijou Theatre … [Continue reading]

Road Network and Transit, Pt. 2: What a Transit System Needs

Man Waiting

Here's the second part of Just John's piece from yesterday and, unlike some of the more dramatic proposals, this one is just a common sense look at how we might enhance our transportation system. Somehow we've got to move from the idea that each … [Continue reading]

Improving the City’s Road Network and Transit, Pt. 1

Modern Bus

Today's column is brought to you, once more, by Just John. When last we tuned in, he suggested removing major portions of Interstates and highways slicing through the downtown area in order to re-build neighborhoods. He pointed out that the I-40/I … [Continue reading]