Axe Handle Distilling – Lee County, VA
While Axe Handle Distilling is relatively new, its parent company, Old Virginia Hand Hewn Log Homes, was established in 1981 by Judy Williams. Both businesses are family run and operated, located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, just a scenic hour-long drive from the Tri-Cities. A beautiful new 3,500 sq. foot log cabin with a wraparound porch lined with rocking chairs where guests may sip on whiskey and take in the beautiful surroundings. The distillery also features a fully visible 600 gallon still and operations room, and a warm, comfortable tasting room. Axe Handle serves as a sort of escape for the guest and people are encouraged to ask questions and learn about the age-old, complex process of distilling.
Axe Handle currently offers tastings of their bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, and American gin as well as craft cocktails. They plan to add a variety of flavored liqueurs to their selection soon. Axe Handle strives to source locally as much as possible and intent to strictly buy local within two years. The company not only focuses on its’ customer’s experience and quality of their product, but on its’ employees as well. In almost 40 years, Williams has never had a layoff. Axe Handle was in fact built somewhat out of commitment to keep Williams’ employees working. She said, “Over the years, we’ve tried to come up with an idea to supplement the log home company and keep our employees working. After much research on distilled spirits and the industry as a whole, we decided this may actually be something to sustain the business, as well as bringing tourism and income into our rural community.”
The distillery also has a great gift shop and in keeping with their focus on buying locally, they offer only American-made products with the exception of some authentic Scottish whiskey glasses. They sell bottles of their whiskeys and gin, as well as branded merchandise from t-shirts to hats to (drumroll please) keychains! Axe Handle requested two styles of keychains featuring both featuring their logo. One keychain is a whiskey barrel with the axe handle logo on it. The second design is the axe with “Axe Handle Distilling” written across its handle along with the state of Virginia reading “Lee County, VA.” We are happy to be chosen as one of the American companies whose product is featured in the shop.
Axe Handle Distilling, located at 42144 Wilderness Road in Pennington Gap, is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Sunday. Hours may vary during winter months and special events. For up-to-date information, follow @AxeHandleDistilling on Facebook or visit the website at www.axehandledistilling.com.