Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville, TN, has a heritage dating back to the 1860s. They offer a tour that emphasizes the distillery's rich history and family legacy, revived by the Nelson brothers after a serendipitous discovery. The tour is rich in historical detail, although the production process is covered more succinctly. The distillery has recently expanded, enhancing its visitor experience with new amenities. Learn all about it in our review!
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
1414 Clinton St
Nashville, TN, 37203
Distillery Tour / Review

Please enjoy our Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour Review!

A Chance Encounter With Family History

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery can trace its roots back to the early days of Tennessee distilling. Their DSP (Distilled Spirits Plant) number of 5 can attest to this. The current distillery is not at the same location as the original, nor did they distill continuously since they first began in the 1860’s, but they are, none-the-less, steeped in tradition. Two brothers, Charlie & Andy Nelson, happened to chance upon their family’s distilling history while stopping for gas one day and noticing historical markers for Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. After some research into their family history, they were determined to make distilling an integral part of their family’s story once again.

Historical Marker - Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour Review
Historical Marker
The Tour Focuses on History
Newspaper Clippings - Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour Review

A fairly detailed history of the family and distillery is covered on the tour. Or at least it was. We last took a tour back in 2019. At the time, the first half of the tour consisted of progressing through 3 different galleries of photographs, newspaper stories and advertisements focusing on this history. Our knowledgeable tour guide provided explanations of what we were seeing, and answered any questions. A somewhat unique aspect of the Nelson’s Green Brier tour was that more time was spent on the history than on explaining the distilling process or the actual touring of the the operating distillery.

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A Whirlwind Tour of the Production Distillery

Unfortunately, our time spent in the production portion of the distillery was quite brief, explanations were relatively concise, and we were rushed as a group from area to area. This left little time to take photos or delve more deeply into the distilling process and unique features of this distillery. Perhaps the experience is different depending on the day and the tour guide, but this could be an opportunity for Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery to explore. Possibly a tour for those more interested in focusing on the distilling process could be added? However, the tour could have changed since our last visit, since it was back in 2019.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

The Tasting – Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour Review

Our tour finished at the tasting bar where we sampled four of Nelson’s Green Brier’s products: Belle Meade Bourbon; the Madeira cask finished variant of their Belle Meade Bourbon; Louisa’s Liqueur (a coffee, caramel, pecan liqueur); and the Nelson’s 108 (the Tennessee Whiskey which is distilled on-site). The Belle Meade line has since been discontinued, so your selections will vary from ours.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

A Brand Name Change

The folks at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, like many others starting out, needed a product to sell while they were waiting for their own whiskey to mature. So, like many young distilleries, they sourced their initial whiskey, a bourbon, from MGP (now known as Ross & Squibb), and sold it under the Belle Meade brand name. Sourcing was not a bad thing – MGP makes fine bourbons and ryes, with their older bourbons actually being in high demand. The Belle Meade Bourbon line also had many barrel strength and barrel finished variants, some of which are highly sought after, such as their honey finished bourbon. However, Belle Meade has essentially become their Nelson Brothers line of whiskeys. Nelson Brothers has similar naming to the Belle Meade bourbons. Likewise, it also utilizes sourced bourbons, although they are from various distilleries in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, rather than just MGP.

In addition to their Nelson Brothers bourbons (and rye), they continue to also produce their Tennessee Whiskey, which is made entirely from their own distillate. Many distilleries discontinue their sourced line when they begin selling their own product, but Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is continuing theirs, albeit under a different brand name.

On To The Gift Shop

When our tasting concluded, we were free to visit the gift shop, where logo items as well as spirits are available for purchase. Here one may find special or limited releases which are only available at the distillery. For example, we found the 12 year old Cask Strength Single Barrel version of their Belle Meade bourbon; quite a nice surprise!

A Lot Has Happened Since Our First Visit

Well, a lot has happened at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery since 2019. For starters, Constellation Brands had become the majority owner in 2019, shortly before our visit. In July 2023, one of the founding Nelson Brothers, Charlie, departed from the brand. The distillery itself recently underwent a tremendous expansion, albeit mainly of its entertainment and visitor experience space. A very large bar was constructed, a new restaurant, and there are now multiple new and larger event spaces.

Conclusion – Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour Review

A visit to Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is a worthwhile stop, especially for anyone who really enjoys learning about the history behind distilleries. Cheers!

We hope you have enjoyed our Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Tour Review! Would you like to learn about some of their whiskeys? Then check out our Nelson Brothers Bourbon Review and our Belle Meade Black Belle Bourbon Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

Date of original visit: May 2019. Updated June 2024.

Historical information from:

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