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George Dickel Distillery
by
Terry Sullivan

George Dickel DistillerySummary: Take a tour of the George A. Dickel Distillery in an area known as Cascade Hollow. A short walk from the visitor parking area, travelers can enter the visitor center. Watch a film and take a tour of the distillery. The distillery is located in a dry county; don’t expect a whiskey tasting.

George Dickel DistilleryVisitor Center

The visitor center is in a rustic building. Rich honey-colored wood tones adorn the walls, floor and ceiling. A light-colored stone fireplace offers a contrasting color. Visitors can watch a video from the comfort of rocking chairs. Adjacent to the visitor center is a general store. Tours end in the general store. In the corner of the store is the only United States Post Office housed in a distillery. It is still in operation today for outgoing mail.

The Tour

The tour begins in the main area of the visitor center. Along the short walk to the distillery, one learns that George Dickel came from Germany and started blending whiskey from distillers. In 1870 he discovered this beautiful part of Tennessee and noticed the excellent source of pure water and an ideal spot to build a distillery.

George Dickel DistillerySigns along the tour explain the process of making Tennessee whiskey. Grains, corn, sweet barley malt and rye are ground and blended with crystal clear water from the nearby Cascade Spring. The mixture is slowly cooked in giant mash tubs. After the mixture cools, yeast is added to begin the fermentation. The fermented mixture forms a carpet-like design along the surface of the open fermenter.

George Dickel DistilleryThe liquid from the fermentation tank is called distiller’s beer. This liquid goes to a still and is heated to where the alcohol begins to evaporate. As the vaporized alcohol passes through tubing it begins to condense and is collected. The distilled liquid is sent through the still two times.

Rather than going into new white oak barrels at this point, the distilled spirit goes into a mellowing tank. This step is required in order to be labeled a Tennessee Whiskey. The mellowing tank drips the distilled spirit through a wool blanket, 13 feet of crushed Tennessee sugar maple charcoal then another wool blanket. Dickel discovered that whiskeys made during the winter were mellower than those made during the summer. As a result the distilled spirit is cooled before dripping into the mellowing tank.

The distilled liquid is placed into new white oak charred oak barrels. The barrel is placed in a warehouse where it ages for several years. It is the barrel aging that gives the whiskey the golden color. The whiskey is sent out of state for bottling.

 

George Dickel DistilleryGeneral Store

The tour ends in the general store. Notice the artifacts throughout the store, many of which can date you. You can send a post card from the United States Post Office located in the corner of the store.

George Dickel DistilleryProducts

George Dickel Distillery produces four whiskeys. Cascade Hollow with the red label has been aged for three years and is 40% alcohol (80 proof). Black label No. 8 was aged seven to eight years and also is 40% alcohol (80 proof). Beige label No. 12 was aged for nine to ten years and is at 45% alcohol (90 proof). The Barrel Select was aged from ten to twelve years and is at 43% alcohol (86 proof).

Visitors should be aware that the distillery is located in a dry county and cannot offer whiskey tastings. However this is an excellent distillery to visit to learn about George A. Dickel and the process of making Tennessee Whiskey.

George A Dickel Distilling Co‎
1950 Cascade Hollow Road
Normandy, TN 37360

GPS: N35º 26.280’ W86º 14.752’


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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2016