Sherman Mohr sat down with Jeff Pennington recently and learned something about the Pennington Distilling Company history and some other areas of company growth.
Since 2011, SPEAKeasy Spirits co-founders Jeff and Jenny Pennington have offered blending, bottling and marketing services to other brands as well as creating their own spirits such as Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, Pickers Vodka, Walton’s Vodka, Pennington’s Flavored Rye and Crafted Cordials. As this portfolio of business grew, the distillers also distilled some unique bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey products, which have been aging at the facility for more than three years.
Now, as they prepare to release their first aged spirit created in-house, the Penningtons have decided to create a new entity to showcase their distilled products while maintaining their distillers’ services under the SPEAKeasy Spirits brand. Jeff Pennington explains, “We’re proud of all the products we’ve developed, but now that we’ve waited so long to release our first brown liquor, we want to put our name on it. That’s why we created Pennington Distilling Co.”
Jenny Pennington continues, “This is all about the growth of the company and the neighborhood. Up until now we’ve been all about production and keeping our heads down to focus on work. Now that The Nations has blossomed and our company is doing so well, we want to open up our doors and invite people in to see what’s happening around here.”
Pennington Distilling Co. remains in the same location where they started at 900 44th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37209, but the Penningtons have big plans to expand and modernize the facility in preparation for visitors. Tours and tastings are already offered Thursday – Saturday 12-7 pm. with tours beginning at the top of each hour from 12-6 pm.
By next spring, visitors will discover a whole new Pennington Distilling Co. experience. A new public-facing portion of the operation will be constructed from shipping containers featuring a multi-level space with multiple tasting areas, private event space and a rooftop bar with views of downtown Nashville. Visitors will enjoy live music, cocktails, local beer and will be able to shop in a large retail shop offering gifts and bottles.
Patrons who have toured the facility recently have had the opportunity to taste the Penningtons’ first aged whiskeys prior to bottling, but now the distillery is ready to release their rye whiskey to the public. Davidson Reserve Rye is named after the county where Pennington Distilling Co. is located, and Jeff Pennington is quite proud of his distillery’s latest release. “We are really pleased with the rye, and we’re banking that authenticity matters. We could have avoided waiting three years by purchasing whiskey, but we decided to make a quality product that we can stand behind as our own.”
Created from a recipe of 100% local cereal rye from Renfroe Farms, a 3rd generation family farm in Huntingdon, TN, Davidson Reserve Rye is quite a different product from most rye whiskeys available in local spirits shops. The Penningtons intentionally allow the whiskey to ferment a little longer than most products, a process that allows the spirit to develop more candied, fruity flavors instead of the traditional sharper spices that usually exemplify rye whiskey. The resulting amber spirit exhibits strong notes of cinnamon and clove. Spiced apple and honey round out through the palate, leaving a nice lingering spice on the finish.
The initial release of Davidson Reserve Rye will be bottled from single barrels with each bottle labeled with the date that the whiskey entered the #4 char new oak barrels. Each barrel number will also be included on the first bottles so that fans can track how the character of the whiskey changes from barrel to barrel. Davidson Reserve Rye will be distributed in Middle Tennessee by Best Brands Inc. and should be available in local liquor stores by the middle of October.
Sherman spoke with Jeff at the October 17th unveiling event. He titled it the “Hardest Harvest Party.” in honor of the hard work he and his wife and entire team had contributed over the years. He shared, “The waiting is the hardest part, but we’re confident that everyone will think it was worth being patient.” Jeff also shared his passion for the coastal area of the Panhandle of Florida and Perdido Key. If you’ve done any vacationing or live in the are you know it is seriously Picker’s Vodka country. The official vodka of FloraBama and the Stage Sponsor of the Florabama Yacht Club doesn’t happen by accident. Jeff and Jenny are regular visitors to the area with a long history of devotion to the coast as well as their Nashville market.
About Pennington Distilling Company
Established in 2011 as SPEAKeasy Spirits, Pennington Distilling Co. is an artisan distillery located in the Historic Nations neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee. Their retail products include Davidson Reserve Rye, Pickers Vodka, Walton’s Vodka, Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, Pennington Flavored Rye and Crafted Cordials. The distillery offers private labeling, bottling, rectifying and processing services to the alcohol beverage industry under the SPEAKeasy Spirits brand.
Sherman Mohr serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Shared Spirits, a marketing and tech company delivering a mobile marketing solution for spirits, wine and beer brands. It’s Venmo for Cocktails! #GetontheList