Welcome to a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Damascus, VA – the Old Mill Bourbon Bar at Damascus Old Mill Inn. As the sun sets behind the picturesque Appalachian mountains, this charming establishment comes to life, offering a haven for both bourbon enthusiasts and casual patrons alike. With its rustic yet inviting ambiance, the Old Mill Bourbon Bar captures the essence of Southern hospitality while boasting an impressive selection of bourbons from both local distilleries and renowned labels. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur seeking rare finds or a curious soul looking to embark on a flavorful journey, the Old Mill Bourbon Bar promises an unforgettable experience where every sip tells a story of tradition, craftsmanship, and the spirit of the mountains.
“Spirit of the Ages: Tracing the Storied History of Bourbon in Virginia”
While Kentucky is often credited as the birthplace of bourbon, the origins of this beloved American spirit have roots that extend beyond its borders, including into the state of Virginia. The story of how bourbon came to Virginia is intertwined with the early history of American whiskey production.
During the colonial era, settlers from various European countries, including Scotland, Ireland, and England, brought with them their distillation traditions and skills. As they established communities in Virginia, they began distilling spirits using locally available grains. Corn, in particular, became a popular choice due to its abundance in the region.
In the late 18th century, the process of distillation began to evolve. The settlers would distill excess grains to prevent spoilage, and the resulting spirits were often referred to as “corn whiskey” or simply “whiskey.” This practice laid the foundation for what would later become bourbon.
The term “bourbon” itself is believed to have connections to Virginia. Some historians suggest that it was named after Bourbon County in Kentucky, which was named after the French Bourbon dynasty. However, Bourbon County was initially a part of Virginia before Kentucky became a separate state.
As time went on, the whiskey-making process continued to develop, and the production of whiskey, including corn-based spirits, became more refined. While the modern bourbon industry became synonymous with Kentucky, the early history of American whiskey and the contributions of Virginia settlers cannot be overlooked. The legacy of their distillation practices helped shape the broader American whiskey tradition, including the eventual rise of bourbon as a unique and cherished spirit.
The Old Mill Bourbon Bar at Damascus Old Mill Inn
Whether it’s a gathering of dear friends or loved ones, or a chance to toast your cycling successes on the trails, the Old Mill Bourbon Bar beckons. The Old Mill Bourbon Bar at the Damascus Old Mill features one of the broadest selections of bourbons in the region, whether your palate prefers a traditional choice, a darker and richer selection, a spicier “high-rye” variant, or something sweeter and softer with flavors like butterscotch, maple or honey. Select a snifter and enjoy it neat ? or, for the perfect chaser, step out onto our waterfall deck and gaze at the intoxicating view. We’re also your destination for one of the finest selections of aged scotches, if that is more your speed.
Exploring the Appalachian Heritage Distillery in Downtown Damascus, VA
Located directly on the Appalachian Trail in downtown Damascus, Appalachian Heritage Distillery proudly produces pristine spirits. Their generational family knowledge stems from a region steeped in cultural tradition. The unique design of their elegant and productive pot still forces a multiple distilled spirit with smooth yet robust flavor perfect for every gathering.
Their story starts in 1919, deep in the Appalachian Mountains with Grandpa Bud Justus and his passion for crafting quality spirits. Bud had a prominent smokehouse behind his dwelling where customers left with more than a ham in their satchel. A copper vessel, located in the back of his smokehouse, was not for smoking meats. You see, Bud enjoyed a fine reputation as a champion covert distiller and his patrons came from three different states along the Tug River: West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.
Now, four generations later, Grandpa Bud’s legacy lives on. While the recipes, equipment, and unlawfulness of the operation may have been “slightly” amended, his commitment to quality persists. Appalachian Heritage Distillery strives to harness the spirit of tradition in the tradition of spirits.
Fortified by their foundation in hard work and their heartfelt appreciation for the good life, they see exceptional times on the horizon for Appalachian Heritage Distillery and their home in Damascus, a town where individuality and community go hand in hand.
At the Old Mill Bourbon Bar we carry Appalachian Heritage Distillery Rye and their standard bourbon. Both of which are distilled right here in our beautiful, historical town of Damascus, VA.
Exploring Damascus Old Mill: A Stay You Won’t Forget
This historic building was a grist mill and has been repurposed into a comfortable and charming boutique inn, perfect for a relaxing stay. The mill offers upscale amenities including an onsite restaurant, of course the Old Mill Bourbon Bar with top shelf choices, and charming rooms with many overlooking the 200-foot-wide Mocks Mill Waterfall.
This historic hotel is located in the heart of Damascus, just a very short walk to the Virginia Creeper Trail, making it an ideal place to stay for those looking to explore the area. Here are some reasons why you should consider staying at the Damascus Old Mill:
1. History: The Damascus Old Mill is a historic landmark that dates back to the 19th century. The building was once a working grist mill, and many of the original features have been preserved, including the hand hewn wooden beams.
2. Location: The hotel is located just steps away from the Virginia Creeper Trail, making it an ideal base for exploring the area. You can easily access the trail and enjoy a day of biking, hiking, or horseback riding.
3. Amenities Including Old Mill Bourbon Bar: The Damascus Old Mill offers a range of amenities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. The hotel has a restaurant and bar on-site, serving delicious Southern cuisine and local craft beers. Also don’t forget the Old Mill has a well-stocked Bourbon Bar with many difficult to find top shelf bourbons. In 2022, they were able to obtain Pappy Van Winkle Special Reserve 12-year bourbon as well as selections of Blantons, Bookers, Eagle Rare, and Buffalo Trace to name a few.
4. Comfortable rooms: The hotel offers a range of comfortable and stylishly appointed rooms, each with its own unique charm. Rooms come with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and plush bedding.
5. Friendly staff: The staff at the Damascus Old Mill are known for their friendly and welcoming hospitality. They are always on hand to offer advice and recommendations on the best things to see and do in the area. They can also help make you reservations at the Barter Theater.
Overall, staying at the Damascus Old Mill is a great way to experience the history and natural beauty of Virginia. The hotel’s convenient location, comfortable rooms, and friendly staff make it a great choice for anyone looking to explore this stunning region of Southwest Virginia.
Explore Damascus, VA: Biking Adventures, Tranquil Fishing Spots, and Theatrical Delights at the Barter
Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Damascus, VA offers a plethora of outdoor activities and cultural experiences for visitors to enjoy. Biking enthusiasts will revel in the famous Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile scenic path that winds through lush forests, picturesque farmland, and quaint communities. The trail provides an unforgettable cycling adventure suitable for riders of all levels. For those seeking a serene escape, fishing in the pristine waters of Laurel Creek or the South Holston River is a must. With an abundance of trout and a tranquil ambiance, it’s a perfect spot for anglers. Additionally, the historic Barter Theatre, founded during the Great Depression, stands as a cultural gem. Hosting an array of captivating performances, it’s a testament to the enduring power of the arts. From the exhilarating outdoors to the rich cultural offerings, Damascus truly provides something for everyone to savor.
In conclusion, the journey of bourbon in Virginia mirrors the intricate tapestry of American history and culture. While Kentucky often takes center stage as the heartland of bourbon production, Virginia’s early settlers played a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for American whiskey-making. The fusion of distillation techniques from diverse origins and the utilization of locally available grains, particularly corn, set the stage for the evolution of this beloved spirit.
Today, Virginia boasts a burgeoning craft distilling scene that honors tradition while embracing modernity. Distilleries across the state are producing a diverse range of spirits, including bourbons that pay homage to the past while incorporating contemporary techniques. The Old Mill Bourbon Bar at the Damascus Old Mill Inn offers one of the widest selections of bourbons and whiskeys in the area. With over 100 bourbons available, there’s so many choices to taste and savor. Our most popular bourbons are Blanton’s, Weller, Angel Envy, Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve. Check out our Old Mill Bourbon Bar menu. As enthusiasts sip Virginia bourbons, they partake in a sip of history, at the historic Old Mill Inn.