One thing Gatlinburg, Tennessee is known for is moonshine and there’s no shortage of places to find it in town. The beverage is more popular than ever because of the Moonshiners shows on the Discovery Channel. Several people from that show partner with local distiller Sugarlands, which makes it one of the most popular stops for people visiting Gatlinburg.
Sugarlands is located right on the Parkway, which is the main street going through Gatlinburg. You can visit the gift shop to buy souvenirs and several varieties of moonshine they have for sale. The location is also a functioning distillery with most steps of the process taking place on site.
We signed up ahead of time for the Blended Cocktails Tour ($12 per person), which includes 2 drinks and a behind-the-scenes visit to see things up close. We also learned about all the steps for making moonshine and the differences between the alcohol that’s produced during the distilling process.
You really don’t need to take the tour to see the stills, as the area is surrounded by windows and visible from the street and inside the shop.
However, most visitors aren’t here for a tour. They’re here to try some moonshine.
The moonshine tasting costs $5 and takes approximately 20 minutes. You’re assigned a sippin’ post and wait for your turn. Approximately 20 people can fit around the circular bar where your “guide” will race you through samples of moonshine and sipping creams. The flavors rotate daily so no promises about what you’ll get to try.
The servers are funny and keep things moving. There’s a lot of space to fill because most of the time you’re waiting for them to pour the next round of samples. The glasses are small, so you’re getting a taste of each one. You’re going to be drinking the equivalent of a couple of shots during your tasting, so drink responsibly.
Here is the list of the selections at our tasting:
- Silver Cloud Tennessee Sour Mash Moonshine (100 proof)
- Blockader’s Blackberry Moonshine (40 proof)
- Mark Rogers’ American Peach Moonshine (70 proof)
- Mark and Digger’s Rye Apple Moonshine (80 proof)
- Cole Swindell’s Pre Show Punch Moonshine (50 proof)
- PGA Championship Moonshine (40 proof)
- NASCAR 75th Anniversary Pina Colada Moonshine (70 proof)
- Dark Chocolate Coffee Appalachian Sippin’ Cream (40 proof)
- Peanut Butter Appalachian Sippin’ Cream (40 proof)
- Banana Pudding Appalachian Sippin’ Cream (40 proof)
We also received a sample of one of the moonshine cocktails served at the bar in the back of the store.
If you didn’t want to try one of the flavors, you just put your hand over your cup. You could also ask for just a small taste. However, there’s no sharing with others.
When you’re finished, you can use your wristband as a $5 discount on anything from the store. You’re able to combine the discounts, so if you’re a party of 4, you get $20 off.
We made this our second stop of the day, right after eating lunch. From there we went for a walk around town and checked out the shops. We walked past other moonshine places and the setup was similar. Pay a fee and get a bunch of samples.
However, Sugarlands knows how to move a large number of people through the process and they have it down to a science. Even so, things can get crowded so if you’re going at a popular time and there may be a wait.
The bar in the back of the store is also a nice place to hang out and get away from the sun. The moonshine cocktails were also really good and not overly expensive.
Finally, there is a limit of one tour per person per day. No getting back in line when you’re done with a tasting.
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