The first barrel of Tennessee bourbon made legally in Williamson County in 106 years was released on Monday by H. Clark Distillery.
The 106-proof, locally distilled, aged and bottled spirit was cause for celebration.
— H Clark Distillery (@hclarkdistillry) December 5, 2016
From 1 to 3 p.m., the distillery presented its first barrel of bourbon in a special event at its 100-year-old, 1,200-square-foot restored granary-turned-distillery building at 1557 Thompson’s Station Road.
The 53-gallon barrel will produce approximately 250 bottles, available at the distillery and select local stores; each bottle from barrel number one will come with a poster created by Hatch Show Print as a celebratory package.
Things have come full circle since 1909, when — ten years before national prohibition — Tennessee’s Senate Bill No. 10 banned the manufacturing of any alcoholic beverages statewide.
But like good bourbon, the process to bring spirits back to Williamson County took time.
Heath Clark, owner of H Clark Distillery, is well versed in patience. Having been involved in the Craft Distilling Legislation in 2009 and opening a distillery, he’s waited for this day for a long while.
“We’ve been patient while our bourbon aged, but it could have been worse – at least it wasn’t 106 years,” he said.
For the bourbon, it was two years, in fact. Clark began distilling and aging in the fall of 2014. While waiting for the bourbon to age, the distillery has released several unaged spirits and has others still growing character in the barrel. Their spirits include Tennessee Dry Gin, Tennessee Bourbon, Tennessee Black & Tan, New Whiskey and Rye Whiskey.
Clark picked the day, Dec. 5, because it is National Repeal Day, marking the repeal of the Volstead Act on Dec. 5, 1933.
“While it’s great to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition, it’s imperative to recall its imposition,” Clark said. “We barreled our first barrel of bourbon at 106 proof in order to remind us of that decision in 1910 which cost us 106 bourbon-deprived years in Williamson County.”
The celebration continues later this week. Barlines at the Omni Hotel Nashville will be hosting a launch party from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8.