The majority of the below release was written by Chris Chamberlain for the Nashville Scene. The Scene link to the original story:
Cary Bringle of Peg Leg Porker (signature sauces and dry seasonings), is opening a new tasting room in the warehouse where he currently makes BBQ sauces in South Nashville. The pitmaster, known for Bringle’s Smoking Oasis, will open its doors at 2700 Eugenia Ave. as “Peg Leg Bourbon Artisan Distillery and Tasting Room."
Bringle became the first pitmaster in the country to launch a bourbon brand in 2015. Within its first year, the bourbon clinched the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition. Peg Leg Porker won the double gold medal at the same competition. After starting in catering, Bringle, who has appeared on Food Network, opened Peg Leg Porker in the Gulch in 2013 and opened Bringles Smoking Oasis in 2021.
Bringle has accomplished this without distilling a single drop of his own spirits, without investors or backers and zero employees dedicated to the company. “I believe in starting small, cheap and fast. First, you build up the customer base and the brand, then you can always go bigger and add more equipment. Most guys raise a lot of money and then build a distillery and wait for their whiskey to age. Then they go out and sell. If I’d spent millions of dollars, I wouldn’t have any money to buy the whiskey!”
Indeed, Bringle has created his brand by purchasing aged whiskey and using a contract blender and bottler to package his products. But now he's preparing to take that part of his business in-house. While he's had the building for two years as the home of his Peg Leg Porker Food Products operation distributing sauces and rubs, with the recent purchase of a $200,000 bottling line, he is ready to create a new public-facing arm of his PLP empire.
A big reason why Bringle chose to bring some of the production in-house is that he is no longer depending completely on purchased aged spirits. As the availability of these precious spirits has dried up over the past year, he has begun working directly with a contract distiller in the state to produce his own recipe, and has acquired thousands of barrels that are aging in warehouses in various Tennessee locations until they have matured and are ready to bottle.
“There just was no aged whiskey on the market, so I’ve been laying down 600 barrels a year. The only reason I could build a distillery is because I was forced to because of growth. It will be a blending and bottling facility with a tasting room and a bottle shop to sell bottles at retail,” he says. “We’ll have a 2,500-gallon blending tank that should allow us to package 1,200 six-packs a day.” He’ll also put the whiskey through his special hickory charcoal filtration process at the facility, using coals from the smokers at his restaurant.
Peg Leg Porker will be able to release special small-batch limited releases since he will have control over the scale of the packaging runs. It’s not cost-efficient to set up a contract bottling run to package a single barrel or a small batch of the 8-year-old Tennessee rye whiskey. But with his own staff doing the bottling, Bringle will be able to seek out unique spirits.