Spirits seem as old as Appalachia itself. The first settlers to cross the Appalachian Mountains came from Scotland and Ireland, and they brought with them equipment, knowledge, lore, and traditions necessary for distilling homemade liquor.
As these pioneers spread across East Tennessee and southern Appalachia, so did homemade spirits.
Most every farm had its own still, and spirits and moonshine were a basic homesteading requirement. Most frontier families lacked access to medicine, so they used spirits for everything from sore throats and spring colds to toothaches and anesthesia. Later, spirits offered a means of survival during tough economic times. People made a living off it.
The distilling techniques and recipes that we use today are the same ones our forebears used in 1790. We’ve just added a few new flavor profiles and started selling the whole kit-and-caboodle to the general public. Chris Yett, owner of The Sevier Distilling Company, has brought the traditions and deep-rooted history spirits to a legal distillery setting. From the beginning, his goal was to honor the art of distilling and to change as little as possible. Certain things don’t need fixing.