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Etowah to get new distillery
9 Sep 2015
ETOWAH - The latest effort to revitalize Etowah will come from a new whiskey distillery Downtown.
Kevin Caruthers has announced plans to open Hillborn Distillery and said he hopes it will set the wheels in motion for a growth boom in Etowah. "That's where our passions are with it," Caruthers said. "This is my town. Everybody wanted us to do it in Knoxville, but I fought adamantly against it."
Caruthers, who was born and raised in Etowah, began working on this idea about two years ago and it all started when he decided to test out some ideas on whiskey recipes."I made it for myself and thought it was pretty good," he explained. "I then started giving it out to some friends and here we are."
Caruthers noted that this is "my own special blend" and stressed this is a whiskey distillery, not a stereotypical moonshine joint. "That's not what we are," Caruthers said. "It's a classy, high-end whiskey and liqueur store."
Caruthers also noted that he will sell his own brand of whiskey and will allow people to taste-test it, but the store will also manufacture and distribute the drink to other stores.
As such, the distillery's proposed location at 610 and 612 Tennessee Avenue will have a glass window that shows the liquor in production on one side of the building and a walk-in retail shop on the other.
"We have distributors already set up," Caruthers said. "We've already got Knoxville covered and 75 percent of Chattanooga covered."
He added that while he's not sure yet when the store will open due to waiting on federal permits, it should be open within the next six months at most.
"It's touch-and-go based on the federal permits," he explained. "But there's no doubt we'll have the permits.
"This is the right time in the right place," Caruthers said. "People look at distilleries with a little more respect now."
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