Kentucky isn’t the only place to find great bourbon in the United States. Like breweries for beer or vineyards for wine, more distilleries are popping up throughout the country that are creating their own whiskey and spirits in-house.
Once home to illicit distilling during Prohibition, the hills of Northern Georgia are now an excellent place to visit for a taste of great whiskey, bourbon, or even a sip of old-fashioned moonshine — if you know where to go. The state is known for its many distillery destinations, particularly near Lake Rabun. Whether it’s your first time visiting a distillery or your hundredth, here’s how you can make the most of a Georgia distillery tour.
What to Expect from a Georgia Distillery Tour
Visiting a brewery or a vineyard is a little different than a distillery. Some are free of charge while others charge a small fee, but many of the basics are the same. Here’s what you can expect when you take a tour of one of the distilleries in Georgia.
- Each distillery tour will take you through the step-by-step creation of bourbon and other spirits. Take a peek behind the scenes, but be careful not to touch anything unless granted permission.
- You’ll learn a lot about the distillery’s history and how they came to perfect their method of handling and aging their products.
- No tour is complete without a tasting event. Do remember, though; many of these spirits will have high alcohol content, so take small sips! Also, be sure you have a reliable ride back to your hotel.
- Feel free to ask questions. This should be a fun and interactive experience, so ask away.
- The tour is a great opportunity to develop your palate for different alcoholic beverages. You’ll likely be exposed to a variety, so be ready.
Top Georgia Distilleries You Should Visit
Now that you know more about what to expect and how to behave on a distillery tour, you’re ready to start sipping. Come see what these North Georgia stills have to offer.
Moonrise Distillery is located less than 10 miles up the road from Lake Rabun in Clayton, Georgia. They offer bourbon and rye whiskies, as well as vodka, gin, brandy, and more.
This award-winning distillery focuses on the science and art of crafting the perfect bourbon the way it was done in the 1850s. Because of its popularity, expect it to host multiple tours in a day. Be sure to book your tasting and tour well ahead to guarantee your spot. You wouldn’t want to miss this chance to taste one of the finest bourbons made in Georgia. When the tour is over, you can spend some time on their lawn enjoying live music and lounging by the fire pit.
R.M. Rose Distillers
A little further north on Highway 23, you’ll come to R.M. Rose Distillers in Dillard, Georgia. Their claim to fame is being the oldest registered distillery in Georgia. Once one of the biggest names in whiskey, a tour of R.M. Rose is one you won’t want to miss out on.
The distillery offers free tours and tastings. And if plain bourbon or corn whiskey isn’t for you, they offer plenty of flavored spirit options, such as peach lemon, cinnamon, apple, blackberry, and peanut butter!
Grandaddy Mimm’s Distillery
About an hour northwest of Lake Rabun, Grandaddy Mimm’s is a Georgia distillery that specializes in moonshine. Their story dates back to an infamous mountain bootlegger and philanthropist “Mimm” McClure. Grandaddy Mimm’s today is operated by Mimm’s great-grandson, who continues the legacy of the age-old recipe that has made the brand one of the most popular in Georgia.
They are always ready to host a full tasting and tour, so feel free to just drop by. Apart from the classics, Grandaddy Mimm’s offers eight different moonshine flavors, including apple, peach, and wild cherry cobbler. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to add its signature 140-proof concoction to your list.
Grandaddy Mimm’s is a concert venue, too. Check out their events calendar to catch an exciting concert after the tour.
More than Just Whiskey
North Georgia’s whisky scene is thriving. If you’re looking for a unique vacation experience near Lake Rabun, taking tours of Georgia distilleries is a great way to take in the local scene. With all of the distilleries also offering live music or outdoor spaces to gather, planning to spend an afternoon or evening in one or all of them is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
To ensure that you don’t miss out on the fun things that Georgia distilleries have to offer, book accommodations close by so you can easily hop from one location to the next. Lake Rabun Hotel is not only near the majority of these distilleries, but it offers a fun getaway experience in itself for travelers of all ages.
When you’re not sipping spirits, you can take advantage of the many activities Lake Rabun offers, including water sports, fishing, hiking, and golfing. There’s plenty to do in this area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and there’s no better way to be close to it all than booking a stay at Lake Rabun Hotel. Get in touch with us to learn more.