From the mountains of Afghanistan, to the hills of Tennessee, Leatherwood’s journey from a homemade still to a home base distillery has been one of integrity, craft and passion.
During his early years of service, Leatherwood’s Founder and current Head Distiller, Andrew Lang, discovered his passion and skill for brewing in 1996, while perfecting his homemade sweet southern wines. Sparked by his craft and love for producing quality spirits, Lang began distilling batches of wines and brews for his Special Forces team while stationed overseas.
Along the border of Kuwait, passing the time as his team awaited orders to invade, Lang told an Army buddy that he could make wine out of items in his Meal Ready to Eat. He boiled water from a bottle, melted a pack of MRE Skittles and added a crushed piece of shelf-stable bread. Then he let it sit. The sugar and yeast started to ferment.
And just like that, he had booze.
Over the years, Lang perfected the art of fermenting and distilling using ingredients available to him wherever he was — first with home-brew kits in his house near the post at Fort Campbell, then wine after he was stationed in Italy, and finally to whiskey in a self-made still using a beer keg, a turkey cooker and a copper column he took with him to the mountains of Afghanistan.
While in Afghanistan, Lang would often go down to the river near their camp and use his homemade still to clean water to drink. But when Lang wasn’t purifying, he was sourcing local ingredients for his next batch of homemade whiskey.
Mules and camels roamed the lands around them, and there was always grain for the animals. In fact, he could go to any store and buy a batch of sweet feed — corn, wheat, rolled oat and dried molasses — the goods of the oldest moonshine recipes. And just like that he was showing his team how he could turn grain into liquor.
Now, years after retiring from the Green Berets, Lang continues to distill craft spirits back home in Nashville, Tennessee. Using homemade designs, Lang’s current still produces rums, ryes, bourbons, moonshines and many other spirits for purchase at his Leatherwood Distillery, in nearby retailers and now.. online.
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