⊕ EXCLUSIVE: UC distillery earns organic tag

Short Mountain Distillery is now USDA certified organic.

WOODBURY – Moonshine maker Short Mountain Distillery has received a long-awaited certification – and may be among the first in the state of Tennessee to do so.

Short Mountain is now USDA certified organic – likely the first Tennessee distillery to achieve that verification and a goal of founder Billy Kaufman ever since the Cannon County-based business was first licensed in 2011. The designation, received in June, allows Short Mountain to sell, label and represent its products as organic. Kaufman says customers can expect to see new labeling on the shelves by 2016.

Moonshine Bottle_005
Short Mountain Distillery was first licensed to sell moonshine in 2011.

“It’s been a goal, yes,” Kaufman said. “Mostly (this) means being a more responsible caretaker of the planet – but I also think organic products are generally better for your health and taste better.”

Short Mountain went through a several-months long process to receive the organic tag. Kaufman says the distillery now produces roughly 30,000 bottles of product each year, all “corn grown and stone-milled” on their 300-acre working form.

While Short Mountain already runs on well-established organic practices, Kaufman says making moonshine organically only further sets the small-batch distillery apart. In what Kaufman called it a “milestone moment,” Short Mountain recently added bourbon to its repertoire, a first. The distillery was also recently named an Upper Cumberland Business Journal 2015 Ovation Award winner for Excellence in Tourism.

“As a small distillery, we cannot compete with larger liquor companies for price, but we can improve our products in ways they cannot,” Kaufman said. “Making small handmade, artisan spirits is something that separates us from the others. We have even made our liquor kosher.

“Hopefully people will recognize that these practices also make superior products,” Kaufman added. “The market will always support superior products.”

Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com

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