Moonshine tourism creates positive impact, challenges for Gatlinburg
By Lance Coleman, Knoxville News Sentinel
Tourists pass by barrels on display at Sugarlands Distilling Co. in Gatlinburg. Photo by Adam Lau/News Sentinel
GATLINBURG, TN (News Sentinel) -
In a sleepy little town known for handmade candles, wood-carved signs and airbrushed T-shirts, will the next big souvenirs be a Mason jar and an “I got trashed in Gatlinburg” shirt? With four moonshine distilleries now open in the tourist-dependent town, will pedestrian-friendly sidewalks be filled with people staggering from one “free tasting” to the next?
Absolutely not, says Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Ogle. The moonshine businesses that are having a positive impact on tourism in Gatlinburg won't change the city's image.
“We are a multi-generation family destination,” Ogle said. “Certainly the distilleries offer activities for the adults only, but this town was built as a family destination, and we will always be a family destination.”