Clayton plans to bring whiskey distillery attraction to Townsend

The event could open as soon as this fall, and would include an interpretive center of traditional whiskey making and a Jack Daniel’s master distiller.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton plans to build a new whiskey distillery attraction in Townsend, which could open as soon as this fall, the mayor said. 

Mayor Michael Talley said the venture will feature an interpretive center of traditional whiskey making, a “mountain-themed” construction design and a Jack Daniel’s master distiller.

“I believe the approach is going to be a little bit more of a low-key cultural heritage kind of venture rather than a flashy moonshine, flavored drinks neon T-shirt kind of a venture,” he said, seeking to draw a contrast to the commercialized nature of Pigeon Forge, the other Tennessee gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

In a statement, Tri-Star Spirits said it planned to release specifics of the project by the end of April.

“Preliminary plans are indeed underway for development of a family-friendly distillery and attraction that will be located in Blount County,” a spokesperson said. 

The distillery, plans for which were first reported by The Daily Times, will be located on the site of the now-former Cowboy Tubin’ outpost along the Little River. It will feature a manufacturing room and a cocktail bar. 

The Townsend planning commission is set to approve the final site plan at its meeting April 8. 

“I think it’s going to be a very good venture for Townsend,” Talley said. “I think it’s going to fit in with the way Townsend wants to preserve the culture and the history of the mountains.” 

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