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The Biggest Distillery You Don’t Know

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A Family Story

Nelson’s Green Brier distillery is the biggest whiskey producer you’ve never heard of. In 1885, it was the country’s largest whiskey producer, dwarfing rivals such as Jack Daniels, selling close to 2 million bottles of whiskey in markets as far-flung as Russia and the Philippines. In 1909 though, the factory shuttered due to Prohibition.

That’s just the beginning of a wild story that takes place over almost two centuries. Precisely 100 years later, Charlie and Andy Nelson reopened their great grandfather’s distillery. In the last few years, they’ve released batches of their Belle Meade-brand, pre-Prohibition-style whiskey that have completely sold out. To sample this old-school style of Bourbon, take a tour of the Nelson’s Green Brier distillery and enjoy a whiskey flight. You’ll hear more about the history of this institution, walk through the production floor, and—if you’re lucky—you’ll meet the resident cat.