Downtown Kingsport offers a tasty new attraction for visitors and locals alike.
A few blocks removed from the expansive Eastman Chemical plant, Drew Draper is cooking up, or rather distilling, a business model of his own. Hook and Ladder Distillery, nestled between Church Circle and Center Street, is the realization of a lifetime’s worth of hard work, dedication, and a stout drink or two.
At the early age of seventeen, Drew stumbled upon what would become his lifelong passion: distilling moonshine. But he thought better of divulging his newfound, and illegal, skill set to his parents. Over the next few years Drew earned a degree in International Business, recorded music in Nashville, and started a family of his own, all the while quietly perfecting his recipe.
Eventually Drew and his secret talent would come of age together, literally. When he turned twenty-one, moonshine was legalized in the state of Tennessee. With the doorway to his dreams finally thrust open, Drew was hesitant to walk through. The matter of his parent’s approval, particularly his father’s, still weighed heavily on his mind.
Kenneth Draper is a decorated Senior Captain for Kingsport Fire Station One with twenty-six years of service under his belt. Needless to say, Drew felt that his knack for distilling moonshine paled in comparison to his father’s aptitude for fighting fires and saving lives. But the fears that had kept him quiet for so long proved to be unfounded. Kenneth was just as eager to help his son, as he had been to serve the community.
Together they established Hook and Ladder Distillery, a name intended to honor firefighters all across the country. Exposed brick walls adorned with firefighting memorabilia honor those who have served, and consist well with the urban vibe of the downtown area.
Utilizing an old, thumper-style still, father and son are proudly producing a high proof moonshine with quality mash and a superior taste. Offering free samples to visitors, as well as a wide range of merchandise, Hook and Ladder Distillery hopes the smooth burn of its white lightning will be felt far and wide for years to come.