A few weeks ago I attended the final meeting concerning the craft distillery coming to Jonesborough. With the support of the Mayor and Aldermen, Stephen can continue to pursue his dream.
An email I received from Stephen after the article ran in the Herald & Tribune:
“I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you and everyone else involved how much I appreciate the positive articles pertaining to my distillery. The articles that you have written portrays us well and that will carry the distillery very far in the local markets! If I can do anything to assist you in any way please feel free to ask. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon!”
Board gives distillery final approval
Callahan gets ready to realize dream
Published March 18, 2004 in Herald & Tribune
With the final approval from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Stephen Callahan is now ready to continue his dream of opening a moonshine craft distillery in the Town of Jonesborough.
“I think it’s a huge victory, not only for us, but for Jonesborough,” Stephen Callahan said last week. “We have something to give Jonesborough. We are really happy that Jonesborough decided to allow us to come to town.”
The Board of Mayor and Alderman approved the second and final reading amending the Jonesborough Zoning Map, which establishes the location of the Distilling Company Overlay District Zone, during the March 10 meeting. The zone includes the manufacturing zones in the Depot Street area and in the Salt House, Parsons Table parking lot and the Parsons Table/Widow Brown’s lot area.
The BMA also approved the second and final reading for the Distilling Company Overlay District zone, which allows a liquor distillery to be located in certain areas in Jonesborough.
Alderman Homer G’Fellers was not present.
“I am really satisfied,” Callahan said. “I really appreciate all the support that everyone has expressed throughout the process, especially the city officials and the people of Jonesborough.”
Although the only opposition the craft distillery received was from G’Fellers, Callahan said board members had been very open-minded and willing to work for the best throughout the process.
“They are inceptive to our idea,” he said. “That shows us that we have a future here in Jonesborough. That tells us where we can be as a company in the next year. We have a big support group and a town behind us. That is what it is going to take to get this business off the ground; local support and we have that.”
With the proper zoning approved from the Town of Jonesborough, Callahan hopes to open the craft distillery by this fall.
“It’s a big process to take on and we are going to take it one day at a time,” Callahan said.
A formal lease has been worked up and completed with Doug Lowrie, the owner of the Salt House.
Renovations to the Salt House should be done before the end of the month. Once the equipment comes in later this summer from Confederate Stills of Alabama, Callahan said finishing touches will be made.
The equipment will include a peanut oil boiler to cut down the energy usage, making Callahan’s distillery the first in the country to have that specific still.
“Now that we have a formal lease we can go ahead and start getting our bonds and file for our federal license,” Callahan said.
The process typically takes about six months to complete.
“We are at the mercy of the government in terms of licensing,” he said, adding that it could be less or more than six months.
The craft distillery also received its trademark for its name, Tennessee Hills Distillery LLC.
“This thing has the potential to go nationwide and the potential to outgrow our capacity fairly quickly,” Callahan said. “We already have plans to build a production facility. As long as we are in business, we will always have the Salt House as our store front. That is still our history and that is where we will be as long as we are in business.”
His hope is to eventually collaborate with other distilleries in a 100-mile radius, so everyone can help each other out.
“We all have a passion to do one thing and that is to make good alcohol,” Callahan said.
He said he also wants the Town of Jonesborough to know he will operate the distillery with respect for the community and willingness to work with others.