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Jonesborough distillery is making bourbon

Robert Houk • Jun 15, 2018 at 4:15 AM

Tennessee Hills Distillery owner/distiller Stephen Callahan likes his new bourbon so well that he has put his name on it.

Others must like it, too.

The two-year-old craft distillery, which is located in the historic Salt House in Jonesborough, has already sold out of the 400-bottle first batch of S.E. Callahan Bourbon Whiskey that it debuted on June 2.

“We sold 75 percent of our stock in the first week,” Callahan said. “This is the first bourbon distilled in Washington County, and the first made by us.”

Callahan said a second batch of the limited bourbon will go on sale Saturday, just in time for Father’s Day. Tennessee Hills hopes to have its bourbon on the shelves of area liquor stores by the end of the month.

The price of the first batch was $65 a bottle, but Callahan said the new batch will sell for less than $45 a bottle.

“Any dad who likes bourbon will like this,” he said. “We’ve had good feedback, especially on social media. It’s very smooth for a 90-proof, two-year-old bourbon.”

Callahan said his bourbon comes from a time-tested recipe. It is made with corn, barley and rye, and aged for two years in barrels made from American white oak. Tennessee Hills is also aging some barrels for four years.

S.E. Callahan Bourbon joins Tennessee Hills’ lineup of flavored corn liquor, vodka and rum products. Among them is the distillery’s award-winning Lemon Drop corn liquor, which Callahan said is the top-selling craft spirit in East Tennessee.

“We don’t do 30 or more seasonal products,” he said. “We do a limited number of spirits, and we do them well. That’s what separates us as a craft distillery. We don’t do the moonshine gimmick.”

Callahan said he is pleased with the success of his distillery has enjoyed in such a limited time and credits support from the local community for making it happen.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here in Jonesborough,” he said. “I think our bourbon is a good sign of things still to come.”

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