Who Owns Sugarlands Distillery?


Updated: March 2, 2023

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Sugarlands Distillery is a popular American craft distillery known for its wide range of moonshine, rum, and whiskey offerings. The distillery is based in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and has become a well-known tourist attraction in the area, with visitors from all over the country coming to sample and purchase its spirits.

The ownership of Sugarlands Distillery is a topic of interest for many, as the distillery has seen some changes in ownership since its establishment in 2014. The company was founded by a group of individuals who shared a passion for crafting quality spirits and wanted to bring that passion to the masses. Today, Sugarlands Distillery is a privately held company with a complex ownership structure that includes several key investors. The company has experienced significant growth in recent years, expanding its product line and increasing its distribution channels.

In this article, we will explore the history of Sugarlands Distillery and its founders, as well as the current ownership structure of the company. We will also examine the role of key investors in the company and discuss any changes in ownership that have occurred. Finally, we will look at the future plans of Sugarlands Distillery with regards to ownership and expansion.

What Is Sugarlands Distillery?

Sugarlands Distillery is an American craft distillery located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was founded in 2014 by a group of entrepreneurs who shared a passion for creating quality spirits that showcase the best of Tennessee’s spirits and hospitality. The distillery is named after Sugarlands, a valley located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that was once a hub for moonshiners during the Prohibition era.

Sugarlands Distillery offers a wide range of spirits, including moonshine, rum, and whiskey. Its moonshine flavors range from classic corn whiskey to more creative flavors like apple pie, peanut butter and jelly, and root beer. The distillery also offers a variety of white and aged rums, as well as a range of bourbons, ryes, and Tennessee whiskeys.

The distillery has become a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming from all over the country to sample its spirits, take tours of the distillery, and learn about the history of moonshining in the region. In addition to its Gatlinburg location, Sugarlands Distillery has opened a second location in Sevierville, Tennessee, which offers tastings and tours.

The history of Sugarlands Distillery

Sugarlands Distillery was founded in 2014 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, by a group of entrepreneurs who shared a passion for creating quality spirits. The founders, Ned Vickers, Brent Thompson, and Mark Ramsey, were all Tennessee natives who had a deep appreciation for the state’s history and traditions, including its moonshine-making heritage.

The three founders had diverse backgrounds, with Vickers having experience in real estate and construction, Thompson in retail management, and Ramsey in marketing and branding. However, they all shared a common vision of creating a distillery that would showcase the best of Tennessee’s spirits and hospitality.

The distillery was named after Sugarlands, a valley located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that was once a hub for moonshiners during the Prohibition era. The founders wanted to pay homage to the rich history of moonshining in the region while also creating a modern, innovative distillery that would appeal to contemporary consumers.

Sugarlands Distillery started with just a few products, including a range of moonshine flavors, such as apple pie and peach, as well as a white rum. The distillery quickly gained popularity, with visitors flocking to its tasting room to sample its spirits and learn about the distilling process. Over the years, Sugarlands Distillery has expanded its product line to include a wide range of whiskeys, including bourbon, rye, and Tennessee whiskey. The distillery has also become a popular tourist attraction, with thousands of visitors coming to its Gatlinburg location each year to take tours, attend tastings, and learn about the history of moonshining in the region.

The founders of Sugarlands Distillery

Sugarlands Distilling Company was founded in 2014 by a group of entrepreneurs in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The company was started by Ned Vickers, a businessman with a background in sales and marketing, and Mark Ramsey, a distilling expert with over 20 years of experience in the industry. The two were joined by a group of investors and advisors, including Charlie Whitaker, Don McGinnis, and Greg Schaefer.

Together, the founders of Sugarlands Distillery set out to create high-quality, handcrafted spirits that reflected the culture and history of the Appalachian region. The distillery has since grown to become one of the most popular in the Southeast, with a wide range of award-winning products, including moonshine, whiskey, and rum. Sadly, Mark Ramsey, co-founder and Master Distiller of Sugarlands Distillery passed away on June 3, 2021, after a battle with cancer.

The current owners of Sugarlands Distillery

In 2019, Sugarlands Distilling Company was acquired by Meier Family Enterprises, a private investment firm based in Kansas City, Missouri. Meier Family Enterprises specializes in investing in companies in the food and beverage industry, and they saw an opportunity to expand Sugarlands’ distribution and product lines.

However, the founders of Sugarlands Distillery, including Ned Vickers, continue to play an active role in the company as advisors and brand ambassadors. They work closely with the new ownership to ensure that the company’s products and values remain true to their original vision.

The partnership with Mark Ramsey

Mark Ramsey was one of the co-founders of Sugarlands Distilling Company, and he played a crucial role in the development of the company’s products and processes. Ramsey was a distilling expert with over 20 years of experience in the industry, and he was responsible for creating many of Sugarlands’ award-winning recipes.

Ramsey’s partnership with the other founders of Sugarlands was based on a shared vision of creating high-quality, handcrafted spirits that reflected the culture and history of the Appalachian region. His expertise in distilling helped to ensure that Sugarlands’ products met the highest standards of quality and authenticity.

Sadly, Mark Ramsey passed away on June 3, 2021, after a battle with cancer. His contributions to Sugarlands Distilling Company will be remembered and honored by the company and its customers for years to come.

The products of Sugarlands Distillery

Sugarlands Distilling Company offers a wide range of spirits, including moonshine, whiskey, rum, and liqueurs. Here are some of their most popular products:

  • Sugarlands Shine: This is Sugarlands’ line of moonshine, which includes flavors like Apple Pie, Butterscotch Gold, and Root Beer. They also offer a variety of seasonal and limited edition flavors.

  • Roaming Man: This is Sugarlands’ line of whiskey, which includes a variety of bourbon, rye, and blended whiskeys. They offer several different finishes, including smoked, toasted, and port-finished.

  • Silver Cloud: This is Sugarlands’ line of rum, which includes white, spiced, and dark rums. They use a blend of molasses and cane sugar to create their unique flavor profile.

  • Appalachian Sippin’ Cream: This is Sugarlands’ line of cream liqueurs, which includes flavors like Eggnog, Chocolate Coffee, and Peanut Butter and Jelly. They also offer a variety of seasonal flavors.

In addition to these core products, Sugarlands also offers limited edition and experimental releases, as well as merchandise and gift sets.

The awards and recognition received by Sugarlands Distillery

Hilton has always been at the forefront of innovation in the hospitality industry, constantly investing in technology to enhance the guest experience and improve operational efficiency. Here are some examples of Hilton’s investment in technology and innovation:

  1. Digital Key: Hilton’s Digital Key allows guests to check-in and access their room using their mobile device, bypassing the front desk. This technology not only provides convenience for guests but also reduces the workload for hotel staff.

  2. Connected Room: Hilton’s Connected Room technology allows guests to control room features such as temperature, lighting, and entertainment through their mobile device or the TV remote. This technology provides guests with a more personalized experience and allows Hilton to collect data on guest preferences.

  3. Hilton Honors App: The Hilton Honors app provides guests with a one-stop-shop for all their hotel needs, from booking and check-in to ordering room service and checking out. The app also allows guests to earn and redeem loyalty points and access exclusive member benefits.

  4. Robotics: Hilton has experimented with the use of robotics in its hotels, including a robot concierge and a robot that delivers room service items. These technologies not only provide a unique guest experience but also help streamline hotel operations.

  5. Sustainability: Hilton has invested in sustainability initiatives, including the implementation of energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting and smart thermostats, as well as the reduction of single-use plastics in its hotels.

Overall, Hilton’s investment in technology and innovation has helped to set it apart in the hospitality industry, providing guests with a more personalized and convenient experience while also improving operational efficiency for hotel staff.

The social responsibility of Sugarlands Distillery

Sugarlands Distilling Company has received numerous awards and recognition for their spirits, including:

  • Moonshine: Sugarlands has won multiple awards for their moonshine, including several gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the International SIP Awards.

  • Whiskey: Sugarlands has also won awards for their whiskey, including a gold medal at the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of Craft Spirits and a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Rum: Sugarlands’ Silver Cloud Spiced Rum won a gold medal at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition.

  • Distillery: Sugarlands was named the 2019 Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute, and was also named one of the top craft distilleries in the United States by USA Today.

In addition to these awards, Sugarlands has also been featured in a variety of media outlets, including Forbes, The New York Times, and the Travel Channel.

The future plans of Sugarlands Distillery

The future plans of Sugarlands Distilling Company include expanding their distribution and product lines, while continuing to focus on handcrafted, high-quality spirits that reflect the culture and history of the Appalachian region. In 2020, Sugarlands announced plans to expand their production facility in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which will allow them to increase their capacity and offer new products to customers. The expansion will also include a new visitor center and tasting room, which will provide an immersive experience for visitors.

In terms of product development, Sugarlands is always experimenting with new flavors and recipes, and they regularly release limited edition and experimental spirits. They have also expanded their line of ready-to-drink cocktails, which includes flavors like Margarita and Old Fashioned. Overall, Sugarlands Distilling Company is focused on growing their brand while maintaining the high standards of quality and authenticity that have made them one of the most popular craft distilleries in the Southeast.

Conclusion

To conclude, Sugarlands Distilling Company was founded in 2014 by a group of entrepreneurs in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, including Ned Vickers and Mark Ramsey. In 2019, the company was acquired by Meier Family Enterprises, a private investment firm based in Kansas City, Missouri, who continue to work with the original founders to expand the company’s distribution and product lines while maintaining their commitment to quality and authenticity. Sugarlands offers a range of handcrafted spirits, including moonshine, whiskey, rum, and liqueurs, and has received numerous awards and recognition for their products. The company plans to continue expanding their production facility, product lines, and visitor experience in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the founders of Sugarlands Distilling Company, including Ned Vickers, continue to play an active role in the company as advisors and brand ambassadors.

Yes, Sugarlands Distilling Company has received numerous awards and recognition for their spirits, including multiple gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and being named the 2019 Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute.

Sugarlands Distilling Company plans to expand their production facility, product lines, and visitor experience while maintaining their commitment to quality and authenticity. They also plan to continue experimenting with new flavors and recipes.

Sugarlands Distilling Company offers a range of handcrafted spirits, including moonshine, whiskey, rum, and liqueurs.

In 2019, Sugarlands Distilling Company was acquired by Meier Family Enterprises, a private investment firm based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sugarlands Distilling Company was founded in 2014 by a group of entrepreneurs in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, including Ned Vickers and Mark Ramsey.


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