Smoky Mountain moonshine is one-of-a-kind! If you enjoy drinking spirits, moonshine tasting should come top of your to-do list on your vacation in the Smokies. And if you’re visiting in early June, there’s no better way to celebrate National Moonshine Day! This fun annual holiday — held on June 3 for 2021 — invites everyone to join in on the moonshine experience this weekend.
Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, Tennessee, have plenty of distillers welcoming visitors to taste their best-selling moonshine and see how moonshine is made with a distillery tour. Tastings are usually $5, and in exchange, you’ll receive plenty of samples and usually a $5 voucher to purchase a jar o’shine or a souvenir in their shop.
Enjoying Smoky Mountain moonshine is a unique experience that locals are excited to share. When visiting the area, even if you’re not up for a tasting or a tour, be sure to step into one of the distilleries or moonshine shops and take a look around…it’s history in the making.
Moonshine Made Legal
White lightnin’ ain’t illegal anymore! Moonshine is legit and ready to sample in the Great Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Moonshine has been around for centuries and is deeply rooted in Smoky Mountain culture.
Long story short, taxes were too high on alcohol for most farmers a few hundred years ago, so they started distilling and selling whiskey in secret. During the 1920s Prohibition, moonshiners made illegal spirits and bootleggers smuggled jars and jugs across county and state lines. Since 2009, ‘shiners in Tennessee can distill and sell moonshine without hiding, running, or fearing the law.
Today, our Smoky Mountain moonshine tradition continues, and moonshine has become a popular whiskey beverage to enjoy on vacation in the Smokies. Once hidden in caves, the backwoods, and even homesteads, distilleries now offer tastings and tours. You can even check out visible remnants of a secret distillery in the Forbidden Caverns of Sevierville.
Fun Facts About Moonshine
- Remember the classic “XXX” on jugs in old photos or cartoons? Each X told how many times that batch of moonshine was run through the still. With 3 Xs, it meant high quality alcohol back in the day.
- The name “moonshine” came about because illegal whiskey had to be distilled in secret. And the best time to work in secret was at night, under the moonlight in the mountains.
- Mountain Dew was actually developed as a chaser for moonshine in 1932. In fact, the name “Mountain Dew” comes from old Southern or Scots/Irish slang for moonshine.
Moonshine in Pigeon Forge
Get pumped for moonshine tasting in Pigeon Forge, TN! From samples to souvenirs, here are the best places to get your ‘shine on in Pigeon Forge.
- Old Forge Distillery, nestled within The Old Mill Square, offers hand-forged Tennessee moonshine distilled with local Smoky Mountain spring water. Flavors range from their original blend and chocolate to elderflower and pineapple.
- Junction 35 Spirits is a fun, unique distillery paired with a kitchen and bar. You can try some moonshine and enjoy a great Southern-style meal at the same place. Moonshine flavors include peach, blackberry, and even sour gummy worm!
- Ole Smoky Barn located at The Island is an outpost of their Gatlinburg distillery and offers some of the best moonshine in Pigeon Forge. Try moonshine pickles (their best seller!), Blue Flame, margarita, butter pecan, and mountain java.
Moonshine in Gatlinburg
Neighboring Pigeon Forge, moonshine tasting in Gatlinburg is a real treat. This charming mountain town even has the most visited distillery in the country!
- Sugarlands Distilling Company serves up some of the best moonshine in Gatlinburg! Take a tour, complete a workshop, or simply pop in for a moonshine tasting, with flavors like root beer, butterscotch, piña colada, and maple bacon.
- Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, aka The Holler, is the most visited distillery in the country and features a tour as well as signature 35-100+ proof moonshines, like apple pie, moonshine cherries, Hunch Punch Lightnin’, and banana pudding cream.
- Tennessee Shine Company boasts family recipes and small-batch distilling. Try moonshine straight off the still or go for flavors like wild cherry, pumpkin spice, or cotton candy. Their Sevierville location also offers a History of Moonshine Tour.
Moonshine in Sevierville
Just a short drive from Pigeon Forge, Sevierville offers exceptional moonshine tasting for vacationers in the Smokies. Check out a few of our favorite distilleries below.
- Tennessee Legend is owned and operated by family and friends, giving it that down-to-earth atmosphere. Legend moonshine doesn’t add a ton of sugar to their signature flavors that include coffee, lemonade, and fiery mango margarita.
- Smith Creek Moonshine is right at the edge of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville at Tanger Outlets and boasts fine moonshine and a trendy tasting bar. Fun flavors to try are sweet tea, lemon lime, chocolate silk, salted caramel, and butter cake.
Moonshine Sips with a Mountain View
Sipping Smoky Mountain moonshine at a distillery is great! What’s better is sipping ‘shine in a rocker while you relax at your cabin and the sun sets over the mountain peaks. At Pigeon Forge TN Cabins, you’ll have your pick of cabin rentals ranging from 1-16 bedrooms of all shapes and sizes with loads of amenity options to make your Smoky Mountain experience memorable. We also have pet-friendly, budget-friendly, large group, and luxury options!
- Hot tub
- Private indoor pool
- Indoor jetted tub
- Outdoor firepit
- Rocking chairs & swings
- Big screen TVs
- Theater room
- Arcade games
- Pool, air hockey & foosball tables
- Wet bar
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Charcoal or gas grill
- King, queen, full, and twin beds
- High speed Wi-Fi
Celebrate National Moonshine Day by trying Smoky Mountain moonshine or plan a future stay to explore the distilleries and meet local moonshiners today. The law can’t stop us now!