Many towns have a Main Street, but the one in Pickens County is now home to the first legal distillery in Jasper. Owner and first-generation moonshiner Jason Hutson, together with his fiancée Jackie Ivey, transformed 104 N. Main Street into Sharptop Distilling Company, which was established in 2021 and opened to the public in 2022. That’s not to say this is the area’s first distillery, by any means. In fact, Sharptop’s essence is built around a rich history of moonshine in these parts—only now, you can enjoy their line of moonshine along with brandy and bourbon both legally and honorably.
A Sip of History
Hutson, originally from Pinson, Alabama and Ivey, who is a native of Jasper, want their distillery to pay homage to the moonshiner history of Pickens County, along with other significant historical events in the area. Hutson stressed that this history goes back to even before Pickens County was formed. The name Sharptop itself is derived from the nearby Sharp Top Mountain that can be seen in the horizon from the distillery.
Hutson and Ivey’s resourcefulness and commitment to sustainability is evident in the materials they used to contribute to the character and charm of the distillery space. Sharptop uses a copper still handmade in Dahlonega, but also includes reclaimed pipes from the original building’s boiler heater system, circa 1940s. These were repurposed into handrails, while new cedar posts and old tin from family property were blended into the building’s décor for a touch of sophistication. The pearl-gray marble used to create the bar top inside the tasting room is from the quarry in nearby Tate.
Sharptop offers traditional brandy, bourbon, and several different flavors of old-school moonshine as well as their own aptly named “Red-headed Stepchild” Cinnamon Whiskey, which has become a huge hit. In days of old, a spirit of rebellion kept the liquor industry alive, and the outlaws responsible for it made a revolutionary mark on this particular piece of history. It was men like Newton Clark McClain, a local sheriff from the 1800s who notoriously claimed that “Neither God’s nor man’s laws apply on Sharptop Mountain,” who inspired Hutson’s “Sharptop Lawless” product line. McClain’s Cut is a 100-proof straight bourbon whiskey with notes of apple and peach and oak spice on the finish.
In addition to continuing the tradition of moonshine in what was once a dry county, Sharptop also aims to support the surrounding community by bringing it back to its roots. This includes using grain grown by local farmers.
“We make everything ourselves except for the bourbon, and that’s just because we’re not old enough to have our own bourbon based on the bourbon laws,” Hutson said. The bourbon is sourced from Kentucky and arrives in oak barrels aged 4 years, then continues to age after arrival to Sharptop.
“We add our great local water to temper it to the unique taste that folks enjoy and makes it Sharptop’s own,” Hutson elaborated.
Sharptop has recently partnered with Eagle Rock, a distributor that works with distilleries in both Colorado and Georgia, a collaboration that will allow the distillery to reach a wider audience. Partnering with a distributor is also helping Hutson and his team focus on the production and quality of their spirits without the logistical distractions of distribution.
This is why Sharptop features a tasting room, not to be confused with a traditional bar. “This is why we do not offer barstools,” Hutson said. “We want folks to come in and sample our products, which are made right here in the same building. We want people to explore our signature drink menu which spotlights each product that we offer.”
Sharptop is just getting started and will soon offer two more types of bourbon, one that is wheated and another made from straight corn. Their private tastings, designed to be both educational and enjoyable, are an excellent way for connoisseurs of brandy, bourbon and other spirits to experience Sharptop’s handmade products.
Hutson’s and Ivey’s dedication in their efforts to create moonshine has gained recognition from ole timers respected in the industry, who have stopped by the distillery to show their support.
“Knowing they support carrying on the tradition, even if it is the legal way, says a lot,” Hutson said. This experience has been a pivotal moment for Hutson, as it made him realize the growing success of his endeavors. “It’s always rewarding when your hard work and passion are acknowledged by individuals who are experts in their field,” he said.
The transformation of 104 N. Main Street into Sharptop Distillery is a testament to Hutson and Ivey’s vision. By blending modern amenities, traditional craftsmanship, and personal history, they have created a one-of-a-kind establishment that captures the spirit of the moonshining tradition while providing a unique experience for visitors. If you are in the Jasper area, stop by and taste the excellence! Sharptop is open for tastings Thursday – Saturday, with private tastings available by reservation only Monday – Friday.
Sharptop Distilling Co.
104 N. Main St., Jasper