Short Mountain Distillery to shine at Tribe, PLAY

With more character than vodka and a smoother flavor than tequila, gay-owned Short Mountain Shine is ready for its grand 105-proof entrance into Nashville’s GLBT community.

The moonshine will make its debut as Short Mountain Distillery hosts an launch all-night launch party at Tribe and PLAY on Church Street Saturday, Aug. 18, and event organizer Heath Chamblee promises a night filled with music and dancers Nashville rarely sees.

“It’s gonna be crazy fun,” Chamblee said. “VJ and visual artist III will be there to perform, and there will lots of new go-go boys from all over the country coming to dance.”

Currently resident VJ at Supperclub San Francisco, III — pronounced “three” — blends hardcore techno, fine art and modern dance, creating visual presentations that have been entertaining audiences for the past seven years. The Short Mountain crew will be bringing in some new faces to dance the night away, and Chamblee promises some celebrity appearances too, as several are slated to party it up at the event.

Even with the celebrity guests, music and dancers, the moonshine is the real star of the show.

Founded by Billy Kaufman and his brothers, David and Ben, in 2010, Short Mountain Distillery began its moonshine production in January, using the recipes of three of Cannon County’s best moonshiners, Ricky Estes, Jimmy Simpson and Ronald Lawson. The three signed contracts in February to work with head distiller Josh Smotherman and COO Christian Grantham to make the same product that was sought after by legendary speakeasy owner Al Capone: Only this time legally.

This isn’t the backwoods, Mason jar-filling moonshine you have to take a match to before you can drink it, nor is it an imitation. With the same recipe Capone loved so much, Kaufman and his moonshiners use a blend of mostly sugar, stone-milled corn and the shiners’ family secrets to make the crystal clear liquor, not the white whiskey many try to pass off as moonshine.

“Moonshine has more character than vodka,” Kaufman said. “It has a distinct flavor and a stronger proof than most vodkas. A lot of the traditional country cocktails were originated here [in Cannon County]. Apple pie is apple juice and cider-flavored moonshine about 40-proof. It’s strong, like a strong wine. It’s the kind of thing locals give each other as gifts.”

Peppermint candies can also be thrown into a jar or bottle to make schnapps. Moonshine can even be used to make bananas foster. It is an all-over-the-place cocktail, Kaufman adds.

“Moonshine cocktails will be given out to the first 200 people,” Chamblee siad. “You will get a ticket when you come in and can turn it in for a drink.”

Those who want to try Short Mountain Shine in its quieter, more natural setting can drive out to 119 Mountain Spirits Lane in Woodbury, Tenn.

Short Mountain Distillery is located on a 300-acre working organic farm in Cannon County. The land features the first of two still-houses, a 60-car parking lot, a path through property, and several picnic tables and rocking chairs scattered about. The distillery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free tours on Friday and Saturday.

Visitors can see where the corn is grown and milled on the farm and where the water comes from the natural springs located on the property. They will then learn how — after the alcohol is distilled— the mash is fed to the cows, goats, sheep and chickens that farm and fertilize the land.

“Mash stripped of alcohol is full of protein, vitamins and fiber. All the livestock here are happy and waiting on feeding time,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman, Grantham and Chamblee are looking forward to the launch party and to sharing Short Mountain Shine with the gay community.

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