Nashville in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Belle Meade Bourbon
Belle Meade Plantation
The Belle Meade Distillery once stood 3 miles east of Belle Meade Farm on the Harding Pike (where St. Thomas Hospital stands today). The location was known as Bosley Springs, the waters from which feed the Richland Creek that runs in front of Belle Meade today. Its proprietors were John Sperry and Watson Wade, selling their spirits under the name Sperry, Wade, & Co. and Watson Wade was a cousin to the Belle Meade Harding family.
The name “Belle Meade Bourbon” was created when a deal was struck between the Belle Meade Harding/Jackson families, and Sperry, Wade & Co. for the use of the Belle Meade title only. In exchange for sales under the naming rights, Sperry, Wade, & Co. paid a royalty to the Belle Meade family. A farm ledger shows that in 1878, $514.50 was paid under the agreement.
Belle Meade Bourbon quickly became popular after production and sales began. By January of 1878, 10,000 barrels were produced and shipped by rail to vendors across the country. The firm even expanded their operation to a second distillery in East Nashville on Hyde's Ferry Pike, where an additional 450 barrels could be produced.
On Monday August 30th, 1885, a massive fire totally destroyed the Belle Meade Distillery. Sperry, Wade & Co. continued to produce Belle Meade Bourbon at their East Nashville location, until the temperance movement and decreased alcohol consumption slowed sales to a crawl. The firm closed its doors and sold its assets in 1887.
Newspaper clipping, top left
Sperry, Wade a Co., of Nashville, Tennessee, Proprietors.
Newspaper clipping, bottom right:
Caption [Top right]: Warehouse of Sperry, Wade & Co. Market Street now 2nd Avenue, Nashville
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce.
Location. 36° 6.369′ N, 86° 51.862′ W. Marker is in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker can be reached from Harding Pike (U.S. 70S) 0.1 miles north of Leake Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Marker is on grounds of Belle Meade Plantation. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville TN 37205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ice House (here, next to this marker); Slave Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); Dairy (within shouting distance of this marker); Slave Burials (within shouting distance of this marker); Belle Meade Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Belle Meade Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); War on the Home Front (within shouting distance of this marker); Mausoleum (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nashville.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 65 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 20, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.