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16. Founder, Owner of Ole Smoky Moonshine and Yee-Haw Brewing Company, Joe Baker

Described as an attorney, “serial entrepreneur”, and one of the early successes in the retail moonshine business, and now the brewery business, Joe Baker is the epitome of an East Tennessee success story. Ten years ago, Joe set out to change the spirit game by opening Ole Smoky Distillery. With a 200-year-old family recipe, and a recently changed Tennessee law allowing the sale of retail moonshine, Ole Smoky was the first of its kind to hit the market, and was met with a positive public response.

“We faced challenges from licensing, to scaling up, we were running out of product in the beginning, we had to hire more employees,” said Baker. “but truly my greatest joy comes from creating opportunity for other people.”

Ole Smoky is the most visited distillery in the world, has four locations in Tennessee and 18 different moonshine flavors to choose from – ranging from white lightning to apple pie to mountain java. Locals and tourists alike can't get enough of Ole Smoky.

“One of the biggest reasons Ole Smoky grew like it did, it benefited from the millions of visitors that come to Gatlinburg every year,” said Baker. “When we started Ole Smoky, it was a retail store. Something I thought we would offer to tourists. They were having fun on vacation, they were enjoying our product, and then what happened was they would go back to wherever they were visiting from and they would want to relive that some way. The demand was driven by the people who had come and visited.”

Listen below to hear Joe Baker’s full episode!