Mountain Spirits

The Perfectionists
Blue Ridge Distilling Co.

For a guy who thought he was getting into distilling as a hobby, Tim Ferris has surely upped his aspirations—to put it lightly. The owner of Blue Ridge Distilling Company, founded in 2010, is out to make “the best single malt whiskey man has ever tasted.” He readily acknowledges the loftiness of his ambition, especially when he and his team might just be the toughest critics. “I don’t know if it’s ever going to be right,” he says. “It’s probably something that we’re never going to say, “That’s it.’ ”

Blue Ridge Distilling Company is hidden behind a grassy bank on a twisting dirt road in Golden Valley, outside the small community of Bostic. One look at the spacious distillery, with its gleaming copper still and seven stainless steel fermenting tanks, and any reservations about Ferris’ elaborate ambitions begin to dissolve. When construction began on the enormous shed, it  was meant to house equipment for his international salvage diving company, which reclaims everything from sunken oil tankers to superstructure cargo ships. In one afternoon, after the foundation was laid, the direction changed and the plan for the distillery was born.

Ferris and friends had tossed around the idea of opening just such an operation. “The diving business takes us all over the world, and when we’d finish a big job we’d treat ourselves to the best whiskey we could find,” says Ferris. “I got interested in single malts, and eventually had to give it a try.” Today, a few of the company’s longtime divers comprise the distillery’s staff.

Defiant American Single Malt, named after the salvage company, is the result of close to 10 batches that failed the team’s taste test and went down the drain. “We weren’t even sure what we were looking for,” he says, “but we knew we’d recognize it when we tasted it.”

Now they have a product they call “the good stuff,” which Blue Ridge Distilling hopes to have in stores early next year. “Based on the feedback, I think we’ve got something special,” Ferris says.

Part of that larger dream is to eventually grow the grains used for the liquor on the land around the distillery, which also happens to have some of best water they could have hoped for, to create a purely North Carolina product. “The goal  to truly be accepted as North Carolina’s home distillery.”

Tours & Tastings
228 Redbud Lane, Bostic
(828) 245-2041 •
By appointment seven days a week

WNC Magazine



Distillers Bob Weihe and Dan August at Blue Ridge Distilling Company.

"As much as you come to find you know about distilling, every day there is another intrigue." -Tim Ferris

“As much as you come to find you know about distilling, every day there is another intrigue.” -Tim Ferris

The pure water used to make Blue Ridge Distilling Compnay's Defiant American Single Malt Whisky.

The pure water used to make Blue Ridge Distilling Compnay’s Defiant American Single Malt Whisky.