All Photos: Bill Foster
Knox Whiskey Works, downtown Knoxville’s first distillery of the modern era, is pleased to announce that it has hired head distiller and Air Force veteran Ryan Catlett. Ryan will lead all production functions at the bushel to bottle, small batch distillery located at 516 West Jackson Avenue including grain sourcing, fermentation, distillation, barrel maturation and bottling. “The opportunity to add a talented and experienced distiller to our team at Knox Whiskey Works was too much to pass up. We are excited to announce that Ryan will be leading our distilling efforts in Knoxville,” said Knox Whiskey Works manager Stanton Webster.
Upon graduation from Oak Ridge High School, Catlett served in the Air Force with a focus on fluid dynamics. After completing his service to our country, Ryan turned his lifelong musical hobby into a profession and earned a degree in the recording arts. From Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado to the Heart of Music City in Nashville, Ryan worked as a Production and Audio Engineer. However, a budding passion for home brewing beer and the underlying scientific principles of fermentation led to a natural interest in distilling. Most recently, Catlett furthered his brewing and distilling experience working at one of East Tennessee’s largest distilleries. “I really enjoy the interplay of science and seasonality and my ability to express this professionally through brewing and distilling. Growing up in East Tennessee and spending so much of my time outdoors, I have always had an appreciation for the seasons,” said Catlett.
As an avid outdoorsman and mountain biker, Ryan is making the most of living south of Knoxville with his girlfriend and two dogs, Knox and Peyton. Discussing the plentiful outdoor opportunities available in South Knoxville Catlett said, “The Urban Wilderness and all the trails in South Knoxville are an asset for our city. Seeing all the outdoor development coinciding with all the business development in Knoxville is great.” As a gardener, Ryan is interested in exploring the agricultural bounty of East Tennessee and utilizing as many local, regional and seasonal offerings while crafting the highest caliber spirits. “One of my main goals is to assist the Knox Whiskey Works Team in creating and operating a safe, quality distillery that is part of the local business community. We want to craft spirits that people will love, and we want to make them the right way. Our goal is to utilize seasonal ingredients from the East Tennessee region in our pursuit to develop truly native Knoxville spirits,” said Catlett.
“The energy and opportunities in Knoxville right now are amazing,” said Knox Whiskey Works owner Cindy Nichols. “Ryan’s skill set will be a major asset to the entire Knoxville community. Ryan brings a wealth of working knowledge in distilling and brewing at a time when Knoxville is exploding with growth potential in both areas,” said Nichols.
About Knox Whiskey Works
Knox Whiskey Works is a small batch, craft distillery in the heart of Historic Downtown Knoxville. The distillery brings together several East Tennesseans with a true passion for quality, crafted spirits. Knox Whiskey Works strives to harness the collective skill, passion and expertise of East Tennessee and pour this into authentic, distinct and delicious hand-crafted spirits. Grown, distilled and bottled in East Tennessee…for East Tennessee.