Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

Grains & Grits: A Nod to Bourbon in Tennessee

This post is brought to you by Grains & Grits Festival.

My obsession with bourbon didn’t actually start in Tennessee, though the story finds its way here—eventually. Rather, I left my home state at age 22 when my palette was too young to be refined, and I thought Jäger bombs and whatever was cheapest on tap—usually, something watery and disgusting, thanks to my years roaming Knoxville’s lively Strip as a penny-pinching student at the University of Tennessee—were the way to go on a Friday night (and a Saturday, and a Tuesday, if I’m being honest).

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!
Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!
Young Kristin didn’t know any better, y’all. Don’t blame it on her; blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.

It wasn’t until I reached the shrewd age of 25, and we started hanging around Leah and Simon regularly out in California that they introduced us to the beauty of Bulleit. I consider it my gateway drug to the magical world of bourbon, though it still remains one of my favorites even nearly a decade later.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

In the near decade since then, we have consumed a respectable amount of bourbon. But if we’re being fair here, bourbon and I were bound to find each other eventually.

Many of you long-time readers know that I hail from Tullahoma. Don’t know where that is? Well, I’ll just go ahead and show you:

Tennessee distillery map

That’s a reputable 12.5 miles from Jack and 4.5 miles from George. I’d long been taking all my out-of-towners to Jack for the full distillery experience, though I’d never been an actual drinker of it (at the time) due to being underage and whatnot. George, on the other hand, became one of our go-to pours when I was of legal drinking age and had moved back to Tennessee five years ago; living with my parents for a year, then since having a family dinner every week or so at their house where the Dickel flows freely, SVV and I became Dickel cheerleaders, often which we pair with that other Tullahoma staple, Sun Drop, for the signature local drink of choice: the Dickel & Drop.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

Then, around the time we returned to Tennessee, bourbon and whiskey started having a moment—and not one limited to the state just north of us, Kentucky, either. Our return coincided with Nashville’s own SPEAKeasy Spirits putting out a delicious sipping cream, Whisper Creek, as well as Bowling Green-born Corsair opening two Music City outposts—in Marathon Village and Wedgewood-Houston—and the Nelson brothers discovering their booze-soaked heritage and debuting Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, a must-visit for anyone coming to Nashville, no matter the day (fun fact: it’s still one of the only places in town you can buy a bottle of liquor on a Sunday!).

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

These days, (one of) our liquor cabinet(s) is substantial in its bourbon selection: We buy it while traveling—as evidenced by returning from four days in Lexington last month with 10 new bottles added to our selection—and we purchase it locally from the distillery source itself or at Craft Brewed in Nashville, sipping on a bourbon and ginger (me) and a bourbon on the rocks (SVV) nightly while at home or maybe opting for something a bit fancier, like a Seelbach, when out on the town.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

All that to say, we keep the bourbon industry in business.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

Now, let’s talk about another love of mine: The Smoky Mountains.

Did you know that the Smokies is the United States’ most visited national park, with nearly 10 million people annually coming to see its beauty for themselves? It’s true, I swear it. My grandfather grew up right near there in Alcoa, while my grandmother spent the first 30 years of her life in the Fort in Knoxville. Her brother, my Uncle Tom, he had a cabin—yes, really—right on the park’s fringe, and summer trips as kids were spent making our base from his house, biking Cades Cove, tubing on Fort Loudoun Lake, floating the river in Townsend. For those who have yet to experience the majesty of the Smokies in all her glory, I feel for you—you need to remedy that, stat.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

Segue coming in 3, 2, 1…

So how about making that first time Nov. 5 when you can enjoy all my favorite things—Tennessee bourbon, Southern bites and the Smokies’ fall foliage—all at once via the inaugural Grains & Grits Festival? Now, that is a trifecta I can support with my every last taste bud.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

In collaboration with the Smoky Mountains, Blount Partnership and Blount Chamber, a group of whiskey-loving Tennessee folk are putting on the first ever Grains & Grits Festival that celebrates craft spirits and gourmet grub in one scenic setting, the heart of Townsend, which is nestled within the Smokies.

You may be wondering who all is participating. Well, from the looks of things, just about every major distillery in Tennessee—I’m sure more than a few of these names will sound familiar:

That’s a whole lot of delicious liquor in one place! But it gets even better.

What’s a festival without plenty of delicious food? Restaurants serving to sober up attendees include Blackberry Farm, Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro, Miss Lilly’s, Old Mill Pottery Café and many more (just think: You can sample Blackberry’s award-winning fare without the $800/night price tag!).
Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

And, lastly, what’s bourbon and food without some live entertainment and delicious beer to round it all out? Tara Thompson, cousin to Loretta Lynn, will be playing a set to get you into the mountain spirit as you sample tastes from Blackberry Farm Brewery, Bluetick Brewery and many other local craft breweries, all poured by The Casual Pint Maryville.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

Now, here comes the best part of all. Are you ready for this?

I’m giving away THREE pairs of tickets to the event plus swag bags to all winners. I’ll select two lucky people, each of whom will receive a set of tickets, from this blog post and one winner via Instagram—be sure and follow me there so you know when that contest is live. And I’m making this super easy for you—all you have to do is tell me via the widget below: What’s your favorite bourbon? In fact, you should probably pour yourself one right now to get into the spirit (get it?); that will probably increase your likelihood of winning 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you aren’t fortunate enough to win—though I do hope you are!—you can purchase tickets of your own to the one-day festival here.

Win a Pair of Tickets to the First Ever Grains & Grits bourbon festival in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!

The contest ends at midnight CST on Friday, Oct. 21. Winners must be 21 or older to claim their prize.

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COMMENTS
  • October 16, 2016
    Jennifer

    Woodford Reserve is a favorite at our house!

  • October 16, 2016

    I am VERY new to bourbon but my current favorite is Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. What a fun giveaway!

  • October 16, 2016
    MikeT

    Hard to pick just one but Gentleman Jack

  • October 17, 2016

    Great, that place is looking so good and it is full with natural things. amazing guide you shared about beers.

  • October 17, 2016
    Skye

    Bulleit rye

  • October 17, 2016
    Pamela

    My all time favorite is Woodford Reserve.

  • October 17, 2016
    Derek May

    Gotta go with Weller for favorite bourbon.

  • October 17, 2016
    Erin Schneider

    Basil Hayden’s!

  • October 17, 2016
    Brent McDaniel

    Jefferson’s Ocean is my favorite by far!

  • October 17, 2016
    Hayley Greenhouse

    I don’t know which type is my favorite! But, I would love to find out!

  • October 17, 2016
    Christine

    Honey Jack !!

  • October 17, 2016
    manda

    Buffalo Trace or Woodford Reserve

  • October 17, 2016
    Ris

    My favorite (for now) is bulleit. My husband went to UT Knoxville as well and spent probably every free weekend hiking in the smokies!

  • October 17, 2016

    Woodford Reserve Double Oaked served straight up, and Four Roses in cocktails! I recently returned from a trip through Kentucky and Tennessee and gained a much better appreciation for bourbon – and how amazing it smells while distilling!
    Danielle recently posted..10 fantastic fall weekend getaways in Washington StateMy Profile

  • October 17, 2016
    Christine

    For an everyday, reasonably priced but insanely tasty bourbon you can’t beat Bulleit. For special occasions, I love Four Roses single barrel or Tuthilltown Baby Bourbon.

  • October 17, 2016
    Nancy

    I’m a Makers Mark fan!

  • October 17, 2016

    Wild Turkey! 😉

  • October 17, 2016
    Joanne J.

    Old Forester is is my current fav, but you just can’t beat that Dickel Rye as a steadfast go-to! I see you have it front-and-center. 🙂

  • October 17, 2016
    Mandee

    It’s so hard to choose! But, I’d have to go with Dickel rye if I had to choose!

  • October 18, 2016
    Helois

    My husband likes Makers Mark, but I am undecided.

  • October 18, 2016
    Amanda

    We are Makers fans in my household!

  • October 18, 2016
    Kirk

    Currently, 1792 Single Barrel.

  • October 19, 2016

    Oh man, I’m a Maker’s girl through and through, but when they have the limited edition Mint Julep…look out.
    Lauren Monitz recently posted..21 Things That Surprised Me About New ZealandMy Profile

  • October 19, 2016
    Nick Schneider

    My favorite bourbon is Basil Hayden’s with an ice cube!

  • October 19, 2016
    Leticia Reed

    Woodford Reserve-especially their Frosty Four Wood!

  • October 19, 2016

    Bulleit 10 year!

  • October 20, 2016
    Melissa Johnson

    First and foremost, Gentleman Jack. Secondly, Makers Mark. Although, I would like to try more brands!

  • October 20, 2016
    Ginny McCarley

    I won’t turn down any kind of whiskey, but my favorite is probably Woodford Reserve!

  • October 20, 2016
    Susan I

    Woodford Reserve

  • October 20, 2016
    Leslie

    I have no idea what my favorite would be but after reading that blog post, I feel the need to revisit Bourbon!

  • November 4, 2016
    Linda

    Eagle Rare, recently toured Lexington side of Kentucky bourbon trail, a new favorite. Looking forward to festival tomorrow.

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