Rarely do you meet a whiskey maker who got his start distilling rum. Phil Prichard, the owner at Prichard’s Distillery in Kelso, Tennessee, is one of the few.
One day his wife came home and he was using her canning pot to distill rum on their kitchen stove. “I said, ‘Honey, I’m making rum, have a taste,’” recounts Prichard. “And she said, ‘woo-hoo that’s good.’ So I had my first compliment from my worst critic.”
Prichard soon realized, though that if authorities find you making spirits on your stove, then “they’ll take your kitchen stove, they’ll take your house, they’ll take your car, and everything else.” To embrace his new hobby he would have to apply for his distilling license, and fund the opening of a new distillery. “Can you imagine going to a banker and saying ‘I want to build the first distillery in Tennessee in almost 50 years and by the way, we’re going to make rum,’” he jokes.
I can’t imagine, and I laugh at his comment. “I got the same reaction from the banker,” says Prichard.
Somehow he worked his persuasion skills and opened Prichard’s Distillery in 1997 in honor of his great-great-great-grandfather Benjamin Prichard, who made white corn whiskey in Tennessee in the early 1800s. With deep roots in whiskey distilling, it was only a matter of time before this family-owned distillery continued the tradition. A neighbor gave Phil a tip that whiskey was on the rise, and in 2002 he recreated his fifth-generation grandfather’s white corn recipe. “Today the vast majority of distilleries making whiskey in this country are making their whiskey with yellow corn,” he says. “But you and I both know that white corn has a higher sugar content than yellow corn. It makes a fine, fine whiskey.”
Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning white corn whiskey is such a fine whiskey, in fact, that you should try it neat, just as it was intended. “If you don’t know what it tastes like straight, you’re missing the point,” Phil asserts. Also in his line up of whiskeys are Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey, Single Malt Whiskey, Double Barreled Bourbon, and Sweet Lucy Bourbon Liqueur. Give their rum a try while you’re at it, too.
Spirits from Prichard’s Distilling:
Prichard’s Double Barreled Bourbon
Prichard’s Fine Rum
Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning
Prichard’s Single Malt Whiskey
Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey
Sweet Lucy Bourbon Liqueur
Prichard’s Crystal Rum
Prichard’s Key Lime Rum
Prichard’s Sweet Georgia Belle Peach Mango Rum
Prichard’s Cranberry Rum
Prichard’s Private Stock Aged Rum