• Atlanta Northcutt

The Intoxicating Pleasures of Short Mountain Distillery

By: Atlanta Northcutt -- Reporter for the Southern Standard


Owner of Short Mountain Distillery, Billy Kaufman



Deep in the cascading mountains of Cannon County, sits a well-kept secret that is reminiscent of the prohibition days. Short Mountain Distillery is owned and operated by the Kaufman brothers, who run their business by the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


To commemorate the brothers’ great-grandfather, Jesse Shwayder, the founder of the company Samsonite, each bottle is labeled with his Golden Rule, keeping his legacy and the family tradition alive.


The distillery sits on 350 acres of land, fondly named Short Mountain Farm. Billy Kaufman created the business during his days as a farmer producing local, organic food to the community. Billy, along with his brothers, David, Ben and Darian, created Short Mountain Distillery as a way to help bring jobs to the county and surrounding areas, while giving the rest of the country a new Tennessee spirit to enjoy.


The business is locally owned and family-funded and generates revenue that stays in the county.


“The farm and distillery are an extension of the local community,” says Kaufman.


After state legislation allowed distilleries to operate in Tennessee in 2010, Kaufman was granted permission to build Short Mountain Distillery in Cannon County. Since then, they have been creating 105 proof authentic Tennessee moonshine, bourbon and spirits in a variety of flavors on Short Mountain Farm.


The brand has become internationally recognized by thousands, who enjoy the many kinds of exceptional products being sold. The moonshine is crafted to perfection with a combined 100 years of experience by the distilling experts who grew up brewing and bootlegging illegal moonshine. Their craft is undisputed, using the time-honored skills of making Cannon County Moonshine and using modern refining processes.


Short Mountain Distillery is not just a brand name. The distillery and restaurant host many unique events and classes, while the land lends itself to produce organic crops and raise cattle. The farm is available for exploring the hundreds of acres of breath-taking land and enjoying the beauty of the Tennessee backwoods and mountains.


There are a number of tours of the distillery to show how authentic Tennessee moonshine and bourbon are made, also allowing the participants to sample the spirits they have witnessed being produced. Private tours are available for larger groups upon request.


The mixology cocktail class is a highlight of Short Mountain Distillery. The purpose of the class is to teach the participants how to make exceptional drinks with the moonshine and bourbon created there.


A few of the drinks made in the mixology class are the “Moonhito”, Moonshine Margarita and an Old-Fashioned with their Tennessee Bourbon. These are all made fresh from local, organic ingredients. The classes are perfect for couples, groups of friends and celebrations, such as bachelorette and bachelor parties. The classes can be held for as many or as few people who wish to join. It is perfect for those who want to relax in the country, have a good time and learn how to concoct tasty new drinks while enjoying them at the same time.


The restaurant at Short Mountain Distillery, Stillhouse Venue, uses the land’s very own free-range, mash-fed beef, local harvest and seasonal garnishes to create a wide variety of delicious dishes. All of the ingredients used in the kitchen are grown in Cannon County.


Stillhouse Venue is the place to go for combining a delightful meal with a hand-crafted cocktail of whiskey, moonshine and other spirits made directly from the distillery, as well as local craft beers. The restaurant is open yearly and does not require reservations.


After enjoying a few drinks and lunch at the restaurant, the opportunity to play disc golf on an 18-hole course is available by reservation, allowing for a leisurely outdoor activity and enjoying the beautiful scenic nature of the 350-acre farm. Disc-golf tournaments are held throughout the spring and summer, including the popular Short Mountain Disc Jam Disc Golf Tournament in August.


Special tours are available seasonally, including The Shine and Dine with a Real Moonshiner, a great group activity that includes lunch at Stillhouse Venue, a tour of the distillery and spirit tasting with an authentic moonshiner. For those looking for another type of spirits, Short Mountain Haunted Tours are led by various local paranormal groups throughout the farm and its buildings, while being told spooky stories and searching for the haunts and ghosts that still linger on the premises.

Throughout the year, a variety of talented local and traveling musicians offer diners and visitors an opportunity to listen to unique, live music in a warm and welcoming environment in the Stillhouse Restaurant.

A special three-day bluegrass festival, where concert-goers can camp on the land and watch performances on the farm’s Shiner Stage, occurs at the end of the summer.


Besides live music, other happenings on Short Mountain Farm include fireworks, pig roasts, a haunted woods tour, and more, occurring at various times throughout the year. The farm is also available for private events, including weddings, exclusive meals and renting out the Stillhouse venue for a special occasion.


Short Mountain Distillery is located at 8280 Short Mountain Road in Woodbury, TN. Visit shortmountaindistillery.com or their Facebook page for the latest information, including schedule of tours, classes and other events on the farm, as well as updates on the restaurant, distillery, tours and cocktail classes throughout the pandemic, and be sure to book reservations 24-hours in advance by calling (615) 216-0830.

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