Ole Smoky Distilleries says it was once again the most visited distilleries in the world. According to on-premise traffic counters, the four Ole Smoky Tennessee distillery destinations welcomed more than 5.7 million visitors in 2021.
This is up from the distilleries’ previous record of 4.5 million visitors. The Ole Smoky Distilleries craft both moonshine and whiskey and feature tastings for visitors every day of the week.
Ole Smoky’s The Holler in Gatlinburg welcomed 2.6 million visitors, The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg welcomed 1.1 million guests, Pigeon Forge’s distillery, The Barn, welcomed 1.3 million visitors, and Nashville’s 6th & Peabody welcomed 0.7 million visitors in 2021.
“In 2021, Ole Smoky Distillery saw significant brand growth and more than one million additional visitors experiencing our four distilleries in Tennessee. We are proud that each year more and more people visit our distilleries to try our growing variety of quality moonshine and whiskey products,” said Robert Hall, CEO, Ole Smoky Distillery, in a prepared statement. “We know that part of the increase in visitors came from our regional drive markets, as more people took to the roads last year. We are also fortunate to be in Gatlinburg, a family-friendly destination that hosted more visitors at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, more than 14 million, as well as other new local attractions. East Tennessee truly became a more desirable travel location for so many this past year.”
Ole Smoky said it has more than twice as many visitors as all of Scotland’s distilleries combined. Scotland’s 134 whiskey distilleries saw 2.2 million visitors in 2021, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. Ole Smoky’s 5.7 million visitors is more than triple the 1.7 million people who visit all of the distilleries combined on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail each year.
Each Ole Smoky distillery location includes working stills and fermentation tanks and an expansive visitor experience, including self-guided tours, moonshine and whiskey tastings, live music, and large retail shops.
As the self-proclaimed largest craft distiller in the U.S., Ole Smoky Moonshine is also the No. 1 selling moonshine brand in the world and Nielsen indicates that Ole Smoky’s market share is over four times that of its nearest competitor. In 2021, Ole Smoky Distillery introduced its small-batch premium whiskey brand with their first expression honoring family ties, James Ownby Reserve Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Hannah Kanik is a freelance writer from California. Two years ago, she found herself drinking Scottish whisky atop Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh and found her love for whisky and its storytelling side-effects.