Grain-to-Glass in Music City

This week’s “Farm-To-Fork” is more aptly titled “Grain to Glass”.

Jeff Pennington of Pennington Distilling Company in Nashville knows nothing about growing corn. So, why is he in a cornfield in west Tennessee? He knows he needed it to manufacture Tennessee whiskey.

According to Pennington, “It’s really about the grain and letting the grain do the talking... All bourbon and Tennessee whiskey has to be, by law, 51 percent corn...”

That corn is coming from Renfroe Farms in Huntingdon, about two hours west of Music City.

“We decided to use Tennessee white corn... A little bit higher starch. A little bit sweeter corn,” he states. “We use rye and as much rye and wheat from Tennessee as we can.”

The agricultural products are transformed into Pennington’s signature spirits. They keep their “Volunteer State” roots prominent-- from the Davidson Reserve, since Nashville is in Davidson County, to Pickers Vodka. Paying homage to the pickers who make Music City hum.

They are also famous for their sipping creams, and you may think since it is bottled and boxed the relationship with the farmer is over-- but it is not!

“Distill it, and then take the left over mash, once you take the alcohol out, and ship it out to other farmers to feed their cows, and pigs, and hogs. Everybody but horses, you can’t feed it to horses.”

The spent grain from the distilling process is picked up and hauled to a farm in Castalian Springs, Tennessee.

The tasting room at Pennington Distilling is open. Allowing customers a true grain-to-glass experience.