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Exclusive: Fast-Growing Ole Smoky Readies New Distillery, Aligns With SWS In 11 New States

September 18, 2014

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is expanding its partnership with Southern Wine & Spirits, linking with the distributor in 11 states in a bid to continue its momentum. The new agreement gives Southern more than 50% of Ole Smoky’s accounts.

Southern is taking over distribution of Ole Smoky’s line of moonshine (about $24.99 a 750-ml.) in South Carolina, Maryland, New York, Minnesota, Colorado, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia. The two companies had previously been aligned in a handful of markets—including Florida, several Midwestern states and a number of control states in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest.

“This move makes us not only the preeminent moonshine in their entire portfolio across all their states, but it gives us presence and importance to them at a corporate level,” said Ole Smoky CEO John Cochran, a veteran of Fiji Water and Pabst Brewing. Ole Smoky nearly tripled to 245,000 cases in the U.S. last year while earning Impact “Hot Brand” honors. Cochran projects 25%-30% depletions growth for this year.

Ole Smoky’s portfolio includes 13 expressions; three low-proof flavors, three 80-proof flavors and unflavored moonshines in various proofs. Apple Pie stands as the best-selling variant, followed by Cherries and a combination of Original, White Lightnin’, Blackberry and Peach. A limited 4,000-case holiday offering, Shine Nog, is planned for later this year.

As Ole Smoky moves to expand its national footprint with Southern, it has also teamed up with Harley-Davidson Motor Company for sponsorship of motorcycle rallies around the country and a new Charred flavored moonshine, which retails for about $3-$5 more than the core moonshine. The Harley-Davidson Charred moonshine (103 proof) is made with the Original offering and is aged in used Bourbon barrels for four months. More Harley-Davidson Charred products are anticipated down the road, such as Honey Charred planned for next spring.

Meanwhile, Ole Smoky expects to open a new 6,000-square-foot distillery in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, next month. The site will include a distillery, tasting room and retail location. Called “The Barn,” the second distillery will join Ole Smoky’s original distillery “The Holler” in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and a 20,000-square-foot jarring facility opened in early 2013 that quadrupled its capacity. “Our distilling operations today, if you factor in everything we have between our facilities, can keep up with nearly 1 million cases a year,” said Cochran.

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