Nothing says Tennessee quite like dark liquor. The common
man's Scots-Irish brew of distilled spirits from corn, a crop that grows even
in the most barren, hillbilly backcountry, has been a staple in this country
since the beginning. The cult status golf course, Sweetens Cove, has a new
bourbon, a product which takes its parent's name.
The course has long been legendary in golf circles. Sweetens
has the aura of a holy city for a certain type of sports fanatic or real golf
head. The course sits on the banks of Battle Creek, a tributary of the
Tennessee River. It isn't far from Chattanooga, in the southeastern part of
that southeastern state.
The place could be described as a kind of hole in the wall;
it never had a clubhouse, or, at least, not one with air conditioning. Some
people have likened Sweetens to a gentleman's "Field of Dreams," after the
classic baseball movie starring Kevin Costner. The idiom describes a makeshift
or impromptu spot that, nevertheless, all the best people want to visit.
A group of private investors, who describe themselves as
friends, purchased the place in 2019. They say they want to preserve the spirit
of the course, to protect it for future generations of golfers. The owners
include hometown New Orleans hero Peyton Manning who, of course, famously
quarterbacked for the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Traditionally, visitors to Sweetens take a shot of whiskey
at the first tee to commemorate the experience. In a play on that time-honored
rite of passage to the course, the new Sweetens ownership has developed the new
product, Sweetens Cove Tennessee Bourbon.
For now, at least, the release looks rather limited in
scale. The company says they are distributing 14,000 bottles. The Sweetens Cove
bourbon is very much a top-shelf type of liquor. This limited release signals
the beginning of a new artisan brand that prioritizes quality over quantity.
Sweetens says people can expect more alcohol in the future.
For more information, visit sweetenscovespirits.com.