Five SEC Teams Near Great Distilleries Worth Visiting

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The Tasting Bar at Castle and Key Distillery. Photo courtesy Castle and Key.
The Tasting Bar at Castle and Key Distillery. Photo courtesy Castle and Key.
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We know college football fans get excited about their pilgrimage to the stadium to watch their favorite team on game day. But what if we told you that road trip could loop in some whiskey, and a visit to a distillery?

The SEC has some great teams and amazing stadiums, but they’re also situated in one of the greatest regions of the U.S. for whiskey production. With that in mind, we picked five great, off-the-beaten-path distilleries within a forgivable distance of some of the biggest schools in the conference.

Keep these in mind as stops to make on the way to or from your alma mater.

 

 

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Mondays are for Process. We love the creative freedom cocktail crafting offers & we’re also really thankful for the wide variety of spirits we have to choose from. Every staffer here at Balcones Distilling puts in hard work every day to produce such a fine product. The possibilities are endless! And thus, a door closes. This marks the end of our Mondays are for Process series (pour one out), but chapters ending only mean something new begins! What would you like to see from us next? Let us know in the comments!⠀ ⠀ #mondaysareforprocess #cocktails #whiskycocktails #balcones #balconesdistillery #balconesdistilling #balconeswhisky #whiskydistillery #texaswhisky #whisky #whiskey #texaswhiskey #americanwhisky #americanwhiskey #tastingroom #thingstodinwaco #explorewaco

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1. Texas A&M: Balcones Distilling

Balcones Distilling is located in Waco, about 90 miles from the home of the Aggies, but it’s a worthwhile drive especially for whiskey nerds. This year, the distillery is celebrating a decade of making a variety of different types of whiskey, with a focus on Texas single malt, as well as rye, blue corn bourbon, and straight blue corn whiskey.

The distillery is a grain to glass operation, using as many local grains as possible, distilling in pot stills from Forsyths in Scotland, and maturing in warehouses exposed to the extreme temperature swings common in this part of Texas. Balcones is one of the distilleries at the forefront of the expanding American single malt category.

 

2. University of Kentucky: Castle & Key

Lexington’s most famous distilleries get pretty busy on big weekends, so it’s best to avoid joining the crowd and go for one of the newer gems outside of town. There are several new distilleries worth checking out immediately, including Castle & Key in Frankfort.

It’s going to be a few years before we get to taste the distillery’s whiskey; they aren’t sourcing–they are letting the liquid age appropriately before releasing it. In the meantime, try some of their Restoration Vodka and Gin, made using the distillery’s whiskey mash bills, and ponder what the future might hold.

 

3. University of Florida: St. Augustine Distillery

Gators fans can find some good local whiskey just an hour and a half away at St. Augustine Distillery, in charming St. Augustine, Florida. There are some really interesting craft whiskeys being bottled here, like their Double Cask and Port Finished Bourbons, the latter of which is finished in wine barrels from San Sebastian Winery.

The whiskey is young, but infused with sweet dried fruit flavors and helped along by the hot and humid Florida climate, it’s already tasty.

 

 

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Our #strawberrybrandy is great served chilled! Enjoying a beautiful #louisianasnowday #batonrougesnowday ❄️☃️

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4. Louisiana State University: Baton Rouge Distilling

Unfortunately for Tigers fans, there isn’t much bourbon being distilled in Louisiana. But the tiny craft operation Baton Rouge Distilling is working on this problem, with barrels patiently aging for a possible release this year.

In the meantime, you can enjoy some Strawberry Brandy if that’s your thing. And judging by the hot and sultry climate typical of that part of the country, it shouldn’t be long before their hard-working barrels produce something brown and delicious.

 

5. Vanderbilt University: Corsair Distillery

When you think Tennessee whiskey, Jack Daniel’s is probably the first thing that comes to mind. That’s all well and good, but fortunately for Commodores fans there are some other much smaller distilleries in Tennessee turning out some good product.

Nashville’s Corsair Distillery is one of the most interesting; they’re trying out all sorts of mash bills and finishes on their whiskeys. Try the Triple Smoke (made with three types of smoked malted barley), the Quinoa Whiskey, or the Ryemageddon whiskey, made with a portion of malted rye, to see what Corsair is all about.