The pandemic impacted us all and made us rethink how and when we gathered with those we hold closest. We felt that the thought of having “company” over was one of the primary objectives we wanted to achieve as we launched as a brand; to offer spirits that you would be proud to offer your best company and make products worthy of those occasions in your life when you are gathered with people who are important to you. It was out of that desire and sentiment that Company Distilling was born.
There are things you share with the world. And there are things you share with the people you hold closest. They aren’t always big things; they can be as simple as a knowing glance, or a peal of laughter. But they’re the best of things because you wouldn’t trade them for the world. We know you can’t just go out and create these things. We’re creating spirits well worth gathering over, crafted for the best of friends.
A bond between friends. Kris Tatum, Jeff Arnett, and Heath Clark got to know each other over the years through the Tennessee Distillers Guild and worked on legislation to uncork the distilling industry in Tennessee. Kim Mitchell, Director of Tourism with Blount Partnership, was instrumental in connecting the team together and leading to the development of Company Distilling. Kevin Clayton, Founder, saw the potential in the team and industry and drove the conversation among friends.
The Company Distilling team comes together with a diverse set of skills and expertise, from a variety of industries. None of us is in this for “a chance at success.” We’ve already achieved success as individuals. We’re in this because it’s fuel for our friendship, and it will be fun. And that fun will fuel thousands of other friendships. Not to mention the communities and local communities we call home. We’ll have success, but it’s not about success. We’ll profit, but it’s not about profit. It’s about good people. End of story.
No one leaves their dream job. But after two decades at Jack Daniels, Jeff Arnett wasn’t done dreaming. After expanding Jack Daniels’ portfolio from 3 products to 11 and winning Master Distiller of the Year in 2017, Jeff departed Jack Daniels to build something incredible from the ground up.
The best salespeople aren’t really selling anything; they’re just sharing something they already love. Nathan came to love spirits and wine at the James Beard Award-Winning Blackberry Farm. His accomplishments managing two sales divisions as a wholesaler, and his continued success at Company, come as no surprise.
We wouldn’t be here without Heath Clark, and neither would any other nascent Tennessee distilleries, because he spearheaded the legislation that opened up distilling across the state. Heath established H. Clark Distillery in 2014, sits on the TN Distiller’s Guild Board, and won an Ascot Award for Best-in-Class Gin.
Townsend, Tennessee is about to become the next Bentonville, Arkansas, and Corey Clayton is helping drive that transition. A graduate of UT’s Environmental Soils and Sciences program, Corey is managing the development of Vee Hollow Bike Trails in Townsend, TN. He is an ardent believer in recreation’s power to drive local economies.
Kevin Clayton understands that businesses can strengthen communities. Clayton Homes will help over 60,000 families move into new homes this year alone. Kevin is adept at aligning stakeholders of every kind around a common purpose, and his vision and guidance have led to business success for all those around him.
Understanding people, and their connection to place, makes Jenna Wagner a formidable marketer. She’s spent years driving tourism and forging partnerships throughout Southwest Virginia, with a focused interest in the region’s unique depth and heritage. Her intellectual curiosity and knack for enriching communities make her a great match for Company, and a valuable addition to the team.
If Company is about bringing people together, it’s Kris Tatum that brought the team itself together. Kris is a founder of the Tennessee Distillers Guild and served as its President, advancing legislation that increased revenue and alleviated taxes for all distillers in the state— large and small.
Kevin Smith is obsessed with the traditional processes of making and fermenting distilled beverages. He publishes about it in leading science texts, lectures about it in the most respected programs, and has even pioneered new analytical processes to accomplish it. A self-admitted science geek, he comes to Company at the forefront of his field.
During his time as Master Distiller, Jeff Arnett brought eight new products into Jack Daniel’s portfolio. One of those products was called the No 27 Gold, double-barreled and double mellowed using maple barrels and maple charcoal in addition to the original white oak barrel. Although the production process was slightly flawed in that maple barrels tended to leak excessively and were driving the product cost up, Jeff thought it was one of the better liquids they were making at the time if the process issues could be solved. Company Bourbon is produced using a modified process developed over several years, hoping to fix the No 27 Gold. Still, it has also opened up many possibilities to confidently replicate a double-barreling process using non-traditional barrel woods that offer a new range of character and flavors to explore. Because Company Distilling has several partners with industry experience, we have been able to steer this process utilizing our collective skills to perfect the finished product.
Starting a business during a pandemic, with supply chain challenges, took a lot of work. Our team has persevered through delays and unforeseen circumstances and has come out on the other side stronger for it.
Company Distilling Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished with Maple Wood is available in your favorite retail stores, restaurants, and bars across Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas, online, and in our tastings rooms in Townsend and Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.
Ghost Rail Gin is available for purchase across Tennessee and Georgia (May), online, and in our tastings rooms in Townsend and Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.
Company Distilling Cask Strength bourbon is available for purchase in our tastings rooms in Townsend and Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.
Seismic Rye Single Barrel is available for purchase across Tennessee limited time and in our tastings rooms in Townsend and Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.
Ace Gap Flavored Spirits are available for purchase at our tastings rooms in Townsend and Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.
Company Distilling beer is on tap in Townsend, Tennessee, with plans for limited distribution in the future.
When we started Company Distilling, the end game was always to be a nationwide brand. The key for us was growing smartly. We wanted to win our home state of Tennessee first and expand to other states as opportunities arose while ensuring we could live up to our commitments to be in stock with our current wholesale or retail partners.
In 2009, Tennessee was home to only three distilleries. Heath Clark, founder of H Clark Distillery, was a key part of the conversation in the law changes that afforded us all the opportunity to get into the industry. The collective effort was led by the Tennessee Distillers Guild and the legislative body of the state of Tennessee. We worked hand-in-hand with our legislators, other members of the alcohol industry, and distilleries, large and small, to ensure parity.
Kris Tatum and Jeff Arnett worked tirelessly on the Tennessee Distillers Guild board as President and Vice President and are very proud of the results that came about during their time serving.
As a start-up bourbon brand, we needed to source mature barrels of liquid for our initial product offering. Before acquiring any barrels, we took more of a “back to front” approach in considering the liquid we would be making years down the road and then backing into the decision of which grain bills and barrels that could be sourced at the time would be the best representation of our future. That process led us to source only wheated bourbons, and to get the right balance and mouthfeel; we had to source three distinctly different bourbons produced in three different states that could be married together to create a fourth liquid. We don’t typically mention the distillers by name who have sold us mature liquid to protect both their brand and ours. Still, we have entered a new make contract with a distiller in Ohio that will ultimately switch our base bourbon liquid to a four-grain style mash. We plan to bring that liquid in-house as soon as our primary distillery location in Tennessee is complete.
We believe there’s nowhere as scenic and beautiful as the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Blount Partnership has been instrumental in providing expertise and support throughout our development as a company. We would not be where we are without their friendship and sustenance.
In 1900, when someone looked at a tree around here, they saw an opportunity. A resource that would help them earn a living. We see the same thing. It’s just a different kind of opportunity. It used to be about bringing trees to people, by the cord, ton or boardfoot. Today it’s more about bringing people to the trees. Creating spirits thoughtfully, on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies, so people can enjoy them surrounded by spruce, fir, and hardwood. And making sure whatever success we have can be shared by everyone else in our neck of the woods. Because what’s really in it for us goes far beyond just us.
We produce our bourbon using a proprietary toasted maple wood finishing process.
We take hard sugar maple and toast it to caramelize the natural sugars in the wood (similar to toasting a marshmallow using the heat of a fire). We reduce the maple in size for entry into the oak barrel and then pull periodic samples to determine when the liquid is ready for bottling.
This step is conducted by taste and not by time-basically it’s ready when it’s deemed ready and only a taste can determine this.
Yes. Both Company Distilling distilleries have tasting rooms, a bottle shop, a full cocktail menu, and the ability to book unique experiences. Both facilities are in full production, and guests can expect to see our team distilling our award-winning spirits, working on experimental projects, and even brewing beer.
We love welcoming guests into our distilleries. When you visit us at one of our tasting rooms in Thompson’s Station and Townsend, Tennessee, you will find we offer product portfolio tastings, cocktails, distillery tours, and shopping. Select experiences require reservations. You can view our full events calendar here.
The Fill Your Own Bottle + Premium Tasting with Master Distiller experience is available at our Townsend, Tennessee distillery in the Great Smoky Mountains. This tour takes you beyond the basics of bourbon, and guests will learn more about distilling award-winning spirits. Then, the tour will cap off with a premium tasting and filling your own bottle.