SAZERAC’S Tennessee Distillery burning for Whiskey Production – American Whiskey News


SAZERAC’S Tennessee Distillery burning for Whiskey Production 

            Newport, TN (2017) Some distillers take pride in being hands on in their whiskey production, but Master Distiller John Lunn and Distiller Allisa Henley took that to a whole new level in late March when they unloaded four ricks of sugar maple wood from the trailer hitched to the back of John’s pick-up truck and began burning it in his backyard.

            Burning maple creates the charcoal for the Lincoln County process, essential for making authentic Tennessee whiskey, something Lunn and Henley are anxious to do now that they have joined the Sazerac family.  Late last year, Sazerac purchased the distillery in Newport Tennessee, and although the distillery has yet to have a formal new name, Lunn and Henley are not letting that stop them from making authentic Tennessee whiskey.

            “We know it’s going to take many years for this whiskey to age up, so we were anxious to get started on production as soon as possible,” stated Henley. And what a start! The wood was sourced from a sawmill in Tennessee and each rick contains pieces of maple approximately two inches by two inches and stacked in a specific way to let air flow through for a more consistent burn. Lunn and Henley took extra care in burning this charcoal and plan to be involved very closely in each step of the production process to ensure the highest quality Tennessee whiskey is produced.

            “We believe we can produce a better charcoal ourselves rather than buying it from a third party,” said Henley. “It is a very controlled process. We don’t want it to burn too long, but not too short either.”  To be classified a Tennessee whiskey the whiskey must be filtered through maple charcoal. The charcoal mellowing process will influence the whiskey making for a unique finish that distinguishes it from bourbon.

            Lunn and Henley will continue to burn more wood themselves as it is needed for the future, but for now, the next step is whiskey production. “The grains are in, the charcoal is ready, the barrels are here and we’re gearing up to start distilling in our pot stills, so stay tuned for more updates,” added Henley.

            The Tennessee whiskey, like the distillery, does not have a brand name yet, but announcements will be forthcoming as new developments are made.  To see the video of John and Allisa’s hands on maple charcoal burn, click here

About the Sazerac Company

         Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, California, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and Canada. For more information on Sazerac, please visit

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress