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Moonshine Tastings picture in Gatlinburg
Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

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  • Entertainment and Nightlife, Tours, Wineries/Breweries Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5
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    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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Moonshine tastings have become one of the trendiest activities in Gatlinburg for visitors of age. The Appalachian tradition of making moonshine in hidden mountain stills took hold in the early 20th century. Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland, who had settled in the mountains, found that the abundance of corn and clear mountain streams were perfect for making whiskey. Plus, the mountains provided plenty of hiding places for their illegal stills. The area eventually became known as Moonshiner's Paradise.

Recent visitors to Sugarlands Distilling Company, named for the area filled with sugar maple trees that was once the heart of moonshine country, didn't mind the 15-minute wait for the free moonshine tasting. Many commented on the great personalities of the hosts and the service. Nearby, the Ole Smoky Distillery also received kudos for its tastings and free live bluegrass music. Many visitors called this a must-do and some congregated daily in the rocking chairs in front of the open-air stage to listen to the music. Some visitors commented on a new ordinance that requires guests to purchase a $5 tasting ticket, but noted that they received a $5 voucher to spend in the store at the same time.

Both distilleries are located on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. Visitors must be 21 to participate in tastings or purchase moonshine, but families are welcome to enjoy the free live music at both venues. Visit the individual websites of each distillery to learn more about opening and closing hours.

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#1 Great Smoky Mountains National Park One of only a few national parks that do not charge an admission fee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also the most visited, welcoming more than 10 million travelers ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#2 Mountain Moonshine Tastings Moonshine tastings have become one of the trendiest activities in Gatlinburg for visitors of age. The Appalachian tradition of making moonshine in hidden mountain stills took hold in the early ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#3 Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Loop If you're interested in art and authentic Appalachian crafts, you'll want to spend a day exploring the 8-mile Arts & Crafts loop in and around Gatlinburg. Watch mountain ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#4 Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram For a bird's-eye view of the Gatlinburg area and the Smokies, hop on the Ober Gatlinburg Tramway, one of the country's largest tramways. Catch the tram in downtown ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#5 Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre This vaudeville theater pays homage to the music halls of the late 19th century with variety shows that include singing, dancing, magic and audience participation. According to recent travelers, the ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#6 Gatlinburg Space Needle This 407-foot tower overlooks the town of Gatlinburg and offers 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains. The observation deck is equipped with viewfinders and educational exhibits that detail the history ... Read more » Sean Pavone / Getty Images

#7 Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area The Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area is open 365 days a year. During the winter months from mid-December to mid-March, skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes and even ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#8 Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies One of the most popular attractions for children, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies offers unique opportunities to get up close and personal with a wide variety of marine life ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Complimentary moonshine tastings – like this one at the Ole Smoky Distillery – are one of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg (for those of age). Sugarlands Distilling Company is also a visitor favorite for sipping "shine." Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

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