Tim Piersant, Co-Founder (Left) and CEO & Barry Large, COB (Right)
In 2015, Chattanooga Whiskey became the first distillery to legally produce craft bourbon in Chattanooga – signaling an end to prohibition-era restrictions that had been in place for 100 years. Since getting the green light to set up shop in the Scenic City, Chattanooga Whiskey has risen to prominence under the leadership of Tim Piersant, CEO, and Barry Large, COB.
Piersant and Large connected shortly after Chattanooga Whiskey was founded in 2011, amidst the organization’s Vote Whiskey campaign to legalize liquor distillation in Chattanooga. “It took two years of pushing for the law to change, and Barry was nearby throughout the whole process,” Piersant recalls. “We did not take on any investment until the law passed in 2013, but he was one of the first investors. We’ve been through a lot together since that time.”
Indeed, shortly after their legislative victory, one of Chattanooga Whiskey’s co-founders split from the group – an early test of the trust between the brand and their investors. “The support system could have failed in that moment, but Barry, along with our other investors, not only helped me navigate that split but gave me the confidence to lead, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without that mutual trust.”
According to Piersant, after Miller Welborn’s six-year tenure ended, bringing Large on as chairman of the board in 2020 was an easy decision. “We wanted a board chair who was in tune with the organization and in tune with me personally, and Barry is that guy,” he explains. “Barry is very entrepreneurial, so I lean on him particularly in that realm. We want to challenge the status quo by pushing ourselves and the rest of our team to think outside the box.”
In just under 10 years, Piersant and Large have made Chattanooga Whiskey a prominent figure in the Southern distillery scene. “We’ve finally made it onto a national platform, and we’re known throughout the country by craft whiskey connoisseurs,” Piersant says. Looking forward to the next 10 years, he adds, “We hope to continue investing in the brand holistically – building up our team, our community, our facilities, and the overall experience. We have a lot to do, and I hope to keep working with Barry for a long time.”