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Zac Brown Distillery open in Lumpkin County
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Z. Brown Distillery is producing whiskey, gin and brandy on Town Creek Church Road on the edge of Lumpkin County near the White County line. After Zac Brown bought a majority stake in Stillhouse Creek Distillery in 2017, the business shut down for major renovations to adopt Brown’s Southern Ground brand. - photo by Nick Bowman

Zac Brown has quietly opened his new distillery in a corner of Lumpkin County.

Originally called Stillhouse Creek Distillery, the business shut down and rebranded in 2017 after the famous Georgia musician appeared as an angel investor for the shop on Town Creek Church Road on the edge of Lumpkin near White County.

The founder of the operation, Jeff Odem, talked about the experience with The Times in December.

“At that point in time, we were just pleased to see anyone walk in the door,” Odem said in December. “I was here very, very early one morning over the Thanksgiving holiday. I opened the back door, and there was a bearded man with tattoos and a big smile on his face. He said, ‘I’m your neighbor.’”

Odem and his wife, Diane Kelly, hammered out an agreement with Brown and Z. Brown Distillery was born. The new business went live online with the new name in September and opened its doors with limited hours in 2018.

Wine barrels sit stacked in the Z. Brown Distillery tasting room on Wednesday, March 28, in Lumpkin County. The tasting room and much of the property remains under heavy construction, but the retail shop of the business quietly opened its doors this year with hours from Wednesday to Sunday.
The retail area in the distillery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays.

Hours haven’t been advertised because the property at 2148 Town Creek Church Road remains under heavy construction. Changes are in the works for the entrance and grounds, as well as the building’s exterior and interior.

A second still has been added to the shop’s operation, taking the total number of working gallons with two stills to 1,250 — plenty of room to churn out blended whiskey, gin and brandy.

Light whiskey, bourbon, wheat whiskey and brandy are mixed to make the 83.8 proof ZBD Proprietary Blend. For now, the brandy is being sold as “immature brandy.”

While that might sound like the bottle tells dirty jokes, it’s actually just being sold before it’s aged long enough to be considered a finished brandy. That will change in the future as the distillery gets the years under its belt needed to produce brandy and other whiskeys.

Tastings are available in the retail area while the tasting room itself remains under construction. The retail area also boasts all the Zac Brown swag you could ever want — leather goods, knives (ranging from folding knives to kitchen sets), art, clothing and just about everything else designed by Brown and the Southern Ground brand. Southern Grind is the knife company that falls under the Southern Ground brand.

It’s not yet clear when construction will finish given a backlog of work caused by the wet, snowy winter in North Georgia, but during open hours the crew on Town Creek Church Road are ready and willing to pour whiskey and take orders.

NICK BOWMAN | The Times The retail area at Z. Brown Distillery, pictured on Wednesday, March 28, is stuffed with Zac Brown swag from his Southern Ground brand, the lifestyle business that owns the distillery along with Brown’s restaurants, knife-making and apparel businesses. Southern Grind is the knife company that falls under the Southern Ground brand. - photo by Nick Bowman
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