Old Nick Williams Distillery – Forgotten No More!
by Kristen Margo Daukas
Tucked away in the woods, off a backcountry road in Lewisville is the home to one of the oldest distilleries in the US. If you’re going too fast, you’ll miss the sign that directs guests to the tasting room and the place where a 250-year-old recipe is being used to make some of the finest bourbon, whiskey, and rum that you have ever tasted. Most of the stories about Old Nick’s Distillery begin with the year 1768 but truth be told, this family’s history goes back way before then. Other than that pesky time in history called Prohibition, for more than 250 years, the Williams family has been committed to honoring the traditions that their ancestors brought to this country.
Today, you have two generations of the Williams family who oversee the family business which is still located on the very land that was home to Nicholas Williams in 1851. It was during a renovation of these original homes that a secret safe was discovered under the staircase and inside that safe held historical documentation of the day-to-day operations of the distillery, sales receipts from all over the world, and thank you notes from past US Presidents. Many of these treasures are on display in the current tasting room. Finding these treasures of the past fueled the current Williams’ passion to bring back their family’s business.
One visit to your local ABC store and you can see for yourself the boom in craft distilleries our state has seen over the past few years. But the struggle has been real for these smaller crafters. Until recently, September 1st as a matter of fact, in order for guests to sample the liquors on-site, they would have to take a tour of the distillery and even then, would only be able to have a sample – it was illegal to mix the spirit with anything like a mixer or a soda. In addition, you were limited to only being able to but 5 bottles in an entire calendar year.
Now, thanks in part to the work that Zeb Williams put in, distilleries are able to open up their offerings to include mixed beverages (using the liquor created onsite), wine, and beer. What was a limited audience before has now become a completely different game and Old Nick’s plans on taking full advantage of this law change. They’re already planning a patio addition to their tasting room which will accommodate more guests, outdoor games, and food trucks. In addition to their own spirits, they’re collaborating with select local breweries to create craft brews using their bourbon barrels – definitely something to keep an eye out for!
Their offerings have been extended to include Carolina Whiskey, Carolina Bourbon Whiskey (my personal favorite and recently won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition), and the newest addition Coattail Cinnamon Whiskey. They’ve also added rum to their family of spirits!
No self-respecting whiskey lover can let this local treasure go by without a visit or two so be sure to keep an eye on their site and their social media so you know when all the new happenings are planned!
2675 Williams Road Lewisville, NC
336-946-1012 | oldnickwhiskey.com