15 Georgia distilleries to try for everything from bourbon to moonshine

Plus details on three new distilleries coming to metro Atlanta
Old 4th Distillery produces vodka and gin with non-GMO cane sugar, less energy and no waste. (Jenni Girtman / Atlanta Event Photography)

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Old 4th Distillery produces vodka and gin with non-GMO cane sugar, less energy and no waste. (Jenni Girtman / Atlanta Event Photography)

If you’re looking to quench your thirst with an added kick of alcohol, check out one of these distilleries in metro Atlanta and beyond that make their own bourbons, whiskeys, moonshines, vodkas, gins and more.

<<6 Georgia distilleries to try for bourbon

ASW Distillery

Describing its methods as "pioneering Scottish plus Appalachian distillation," Atlanta's own ASW Distillery ages in-house, batch by batch. Its aging options include quarter casks, Georgia heartwood staves or casks of other whiskies distilled and matured in-house. ASW's first and best known product is a white whiskey, American Spirit Whiskey, so light and clean it's considered on par with a vodka. The distillery is now just as well known for "Adult Field Trips" in many forms, all including "guided tastings" of whiskeys or half-cocktails and some including take-home bottles of select bourbons.

The ASW Whiskey Exchange and Barrelhouse is set to open April 13, with a warehouse and tasting room that houses more than 500 barrels.

Tours of the distillery are offered Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

ASW Distillery, 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta and ASW Whiskey Exchange, 933 Lee St., Atlanta. 404-590-2279, aswdistillery.com

Jack Daniel was taught how to make whiskey by a slave. Nathan "Nearest" Green was known as an incredible whiskey maker. Dan Call, a distillery owner, had Green train Daniel. Now author Fawn Weaver's group Nearest Green Foundation will honor Green. "I liked the story of Jack Daniel, but Nearest Green's story... really stayed with me," Weaver said.

Dalton Distillery 

Opened by the son of Smoky Mountain moonshiners, Dalton Distillery uses old family recipes and claims to be the only Georgia distillery that mills everything on site. Products include Raymond's Reserve Straight Corn Whiskey at 111 proof and Raymond's Reserve Cinnamon at 82 proof, as well as sunflower seed-based whiskey. The distillery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

109 Morris St., Dalton. 706-483-2790.

Located in the same building as the Dawsonville City Hall and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, this distillery uses 150-year-old recipes to make spirits including Georgia Corn Whiskey, Georgia Mountain Apple Pie, Georgia Apple Brandy and White Lightning, a 109 proof moonshine. NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, a Dawsonville native, has his name on every bottle. Take a tour of the distillery from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12:30-5 p.m. Sunday.

415 Hwy. 53 E, Dawsonville. 770-401-1211, dawsonvillemoonshinedistillery.com

Heralding itself the first distillery in Savannah since before Prohibition, Ghost Coast makes a variety of whiskeys available at both its distiller and in stores including flavors like ginger and honey as well as vodka and rum. Also look for small batch maraschino, herbal liqueur, fernet and peach liqueur. If you visit, you’ll also find spirits available only at the distillery including elderflower, sweet apertif, gin and Italian bitters. The spot also features a bar serving up cocktails made with Ghost Coast products, including the Fuzzy Savannah and the Ghost Coast Old Fashioned. Tours are offered at the top of each hour from noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays; the cocktail room is open noon-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 12:30-5 p.m. Sundays.

641 Indian St., Savannah. 912-298-0071, ghostcoastdistillery.com

The Bairsville distillery is named for Jack “Mimm” McClure, an Appalachian moonshiner who was a bootlegger during the Great Depression. Granddaddy Mimm’s started making moonshine in 2012 after McClure’s grandson, country musician Tommy Townsend, decided to try to re-create his ancestor’s recipes. Produced on a still designed by McClure, Granddaddy Mimm’s produces a variety of corn whiskey and moonshine, with flavors including blueberry, peach and apple. Tours are offered Mondays-Saturdays, with hours depending on the season.

161 Pappy’s Place, Blairsville. 706-781-1829, mimmsmoonshine.com

Top Hat Vodka from Hope Springs Distillery

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Founded by Gwinnett County residents Paul Allen and Betsey Dahlberg in 2014, Hope Springs is that county's first distillery since Prohibition. Over the past few years, Hope Springs has made a local name for itself with its Top Hat vodka. It has since branched out into Jetty absinthe, choosing the infamous anise-flavored liquor as its second spirit and recruiting spirits pro Jaz Jarzewiak to help with the production. Visit 2-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

4839 Railroad Ave., Lilburn. 770-861-6397, hopespringsdistillery.com/

A "no-frills garage distillery," Independent dates to 2014 and produces Hellbender spirits. In 2015, it released the first batch of bourbon produced inside Atlanta's Perimeter since Prohibition. It continues to focus on local ingredients (like Riverview Farms corn) and distills other signature spirits from its 100-gallon copper pot, including heritage Southern corn whiskey, bourbon and rum. Hellbender can be found at a range of metro Atlanta retailers, and IDC offers cocktail recipes on its website to maximize enjoyment of its products. Tours offered Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons and evenings.

731 E College Ave., Decatur. 678-576-3804, independentdistilling.com

A first-generation distillery in the center of downtown Kennesaw, Lazy Guy takes advantage of its locale by using regionally-grown grains for its whiskey and "white lightning." For those looking to party or for a date night, LGD offers a full bar and 25 or so cocktails for purchase, each made with its hand-crafted spirits. For dabblers and experimental sorts, it also offers micro-samples, seasonal and weekly special cocktails in a Spirit Lab that's open 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and noon-8 p.m. Saturdays. Tours are offered Saturday afternoons.

2950 Moon Station Road NW, Kennesaw. 770-485-0081, lazyguydistillery.com

In the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountains, Moonrise celebrates its home with ingredients from local farmers and sources. Its James Henry Premium Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey is made from a mash of local corn, barley, rye and wheat, and is aged in 30-gallon new American white oak barrels. MD also features fruit brandies and rye or corn whiskeys that hark back to the area's history as a moonshine hot spot.

Tours offered Mondays through Fridays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment.

1 Webb Road, Clayton. 800-240-9733, moonrisedistillery.com

Atlanta's first distillery since Prohibition, Old Fourth first made a name for itself with its vodka made with regionally-grown sugar cane as well as its gin made with Italian wheat and infused with botanicals including juniper berries, grapefruit and lemon and orange peel. The distillery has since added Lawn Dart, a ginger lemon liqueur. Its bourbon, which was barreled in 2015, will be available later this year. Its products are sold in a variety of regional liquor stores. Tours of the facility are offered Thursdays-Saturdays, with reservations strongly recommended. Old Fourth also features the Locker Room, a speakeasy concept that stirs and shakes cocktails using the distillery's products.

487 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta. 844-653-3687, o4d.com

This Dillard distillery is named for Rufus M. Rose, a Connecticut man who enlisted as a doctor for the Confederate Army during the Civil War and aged corn whiskey in charred oak barrels. Its products, which are made with Blue Ridge Mountain water and are copper pot distilled, include bourbon, corn whiskey and cinnamon whiskey. Visit for tours and tastings 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

890 Franklin St., Dillard. 706-982-8115, rmroseco.com

Richland Rum.

Credit: Courtesy of Richland Rum

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Credit: Courtesy of Richland Rum

Erik Vonk and his wife, Karin, own this distillery that produces high-quality, small-batch rum from sugarcane and a proprietary fermentation recipe that took years to perfect. The rum is fermented with premium cane syrup and a special yeast, and distilled almost all by hand. Richland runs the stills five days a week, building a supply of aged rum that will go from the current 14-month-old bottled product to vintages of up to 10-years and older. Take a tour at either the Richland or Brunswick locations Mondays-Saturdays by reservation.

355 East Broad St., Richland and 1406 Newcastle St., Brunswick. 229-887-3537, richlandrum.com

Located in a dry county, Still Pond Distillery opened in 2012 by father and son Charles Jr. and Charlie Cowart as an addition to the existing Still Pond vineyard and farm winery. Look for muscadine and peach moonshine, gins and vodkas. Visit to tour the winery or experience tastings of the distilled products 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

1575 Still Pond Road, Arlington. 1-800-475-1193, stillponddistillers.com

Named after militia man Sir Francis Marion, nicknamed the “Swamp Fox”, Swamp Fox produces a rye whiskey, a malt whiskey, moonshine, a continental whiskey, a coconut liqueur and a white whiskey. It also has plans to put out a bourbon in the future. The distillery is open for tours and tastings 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

110 McDuffie St., Buena Vista. 229-314-6965, swampfoxdistillingco.com

The spirits made by Georgia kin at Thirteenth Colony Distillery and distributed at retailers throughout the region, include its award-winning gin and vodka. They handcraft small-batch bourbon from traditional mash and age it in charred American oak barrels for four years. Its water comes from the South's largest and oldest aquifer, filtered naturally through ancient limestone and dolomite.

305 N. Dudley St., Americus. 229-924-3310, thirteenthcolony.com 

More spirits from Georgia distilleries: 

Ivy Mountain Distillery. This Mount Airy-based distillery currently makes corn whiskey and peach brandy available for purchase. It's working on opening to the public.

Savannah Bourbon Company. You can't take a tour, but you can try the bourbon made at this spot at various bars and shops. Two distinct bourbons issue from this distillery: the Savannah 88 and Sweet Tea Lemonade. Both start with all-natural, regional ingredients including coastal rye, winter wheat and Silver Queen corn, and each has the smooth finish that comes from being aged new oak barrels. What makes the Sweet Tea Bourbon different is its finishing step, which includes infusion with all-natural tea and citrus. Search for pubs and stores that sell the unique bourbon here.

What’s coming:

Ateliea House of Rum. The rum distillery, operating under Atlantica Distilling, is set to open at The Beacon in Grant Park this year and will make three to four rums including amber, black spiced and peach-infused varieties.

Distillery of Modern Art. A craft distillery "combining the world of spirits with the world of contemporary art," Distillery of Modern Art is set to open later this year and will serve as Chamblee's first distillery, where you'll find gin and vodka.

Unnamed micro-distillery at The Stables. The forthcoming Alpharetta motor condos The Stables will feature a micro-distillery, What Now Atlanta reports. Look for craft vodka, gin, tequila and bourbon from Paula Dezzutti, the CEO of Charleston-based Striped Pig Distillery.


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