Local entrepreneurs, Pete and Vienna Barger, are leading the charge to revitalize whiskey distilling in North Carolina. In 2014, the husband and wife team purchased a 20-acre farm in Pete’s hometown of Statesville, NC and founded the Southern Distilling Company.
As the Bargers began their adventure, they discovered the deep, rich history of whiskey and brandy distilling that had dominated the Statesville region in the 18th and 19th centuries. Transformed by what they learned, the Bargers dedicated the next three years to crafting their plan to produce premium quality bourbon and rye whiskey and bring a piece of history back to the region.
Included in this plan is a state-of-the-art destination distillery in Statesville, establishing Southern Distilling Company as one of the largest and most advanced craft distilleries in the nation, setting a new standard and leading the revitalization of whiskey distillation in North Carolina, the original birthplace of whiskey in the U.S.
“Few people know about the rich history of whiskey distilling that dominated North Carolina in the 18th and 19th centuries making the region one of the largest liquor production hubs in the country,” said Vienna Barger, Co-Owner and Principal. “At the time, grain crop agriculture was the area’s lead industry. When crop supply began to overtake demand, local farmers began to distill their excess grains into alcohol. They quickly discovered the distillate sold for ten times that of raw grains and soon stills were popping up all over the county. The alcohol trade exploded with the completion of the Western North Carolina Railroad and the Atlantic, Tennessee and Ohio (ATO) railroad lines in 1858. From that point on, literally thousands of gallons of liquor were shipped from and through Statesville branding our humble North Carolina home “The Liquor Capital of the World”.
“We founded Southern Distilling Company as a way to tap into the authenticity of home and heritage and revive the legacy of the region’s deep distilling roots,” added Pete Barger, Co-Founder and Principal. “At our state-of-the-art facility, we produce our own, award-winning branded bourbon, rye whiskey and liqueur products and we also offer a broad range of contract distilling services for domestic and foreign brand owners, distilleries and retailers including custom distilling, warehousing, and bottling/packaging services.
Our mission is to provide the highest quality distilled spirits available to both the local region and customers worldwide who desire a sense of truth and place in the drinks they enjoy.”