Moore Historical Society explores “forgotten distilleries” on Nov. 12

A Dozen Tennessee Distilleries and Old Sport: Pre-Prohibition Distilleries of Bedford County Region
Local historian and author Carol Roberts will speak at the next Moore County Historical Society meeting on November 12. She will speak about the forgotten distilleries of southern, middle Tennessee. (Images Provided)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Southern, middle Tennessee is well-known for both The Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg and The George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma but did you know that charcoal-mellowed Tennessee whiskey dates all the way back to 1824, and at the end of the 19th century, there were over 700 licensed distilleries in the state including dozens upon dozens located in the hills and hollers of Moore, Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, and Lincoln counties?

Tennessee’s natural limestone springs, copious amounts of white oak maples, and fertile farmlands for growing grain made it a natural fit for whiskey production. For centuries, Tennesseans have honored the tradition of making whiskey and farming simultaneously.

The forgotten distilleries of southern, middle Tennessee

The Moore County Historical Society will explore the forgotten distilleries of Bedford and Coffee counties during this month’s meeting, which will take place on Sunday, November 12 at 2 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge located just off the Lynchburg Square.

Area historian Carol Roberts will speak about multiple area distilleries that flourished in this area prior to Jack and George. She’s the author of a book on the subject, A Dozen Tennessee Distilleries and Old Sport: Pre-Prohibition Distilleries of Bedford County Region. Roberts published the book in March of this year and it explores the whiskey industry in southern, middle Tennessee between 1860 and 1910. In fact, so many distilleries existed then that “the Internal Revenue Service could barely keep up with the workload of collecting taxes and arresting illegal wildcat stillers,” according to Roberts book.

Roberts is a Bedford County native and former archivist at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, where for 33 years she helped preserve and research the history of the state and of this region. She’s the current director of the Bedford County Archives. To learn more about her book, click here.

All Moore County Historical Society meetings are free and open to the general public. For further information contact Michael Northcutt at [email protected] or phone 931-434-5797 or George Stone a [email protected] or phone 931-581-2621. •

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan, independent community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. Click here to subscribe.}