ORIGINAL POST Oct. 15: The auto parts store at 100 South Lexington Ave. on Asheville’s red hot real estate slab known as the South Slope sold on Tuesday for $1.8 million. Realtor Stephanie West listed the property for sale in February of this year for $1.95 million.
The property sits right behind two of Asheville’s most popular destinations: the nationally known Orange Peel music club and Wicked Weed Brewing, the top Asheville craft brewery that’s just been continuing to blow up. The property is next door (on the Lexington Avenue side) of Aloft Hotel, one of Asheville’s most popular boutique hotels.
The buyer: Joe Baker, founder of Ole Smoky Moonshine, based just over the mountain in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Ole Smoky is riding the wave of “legal moonshine” distilleries that have been opening in recent years. Ole Smoky is known for its “flavored” moonshine, with the liquor bearing names like “Pumpkin Pie” and “Big Orange.” From NPR on Ole Smoky:
Joe Baker, a criminal lawyer who traces his roots to the earliest settlers of eastern Tennessee, corralled two lawyer buddies to open the Ole Smoky distillery in Gatlinburg. Most of the town’s 4,000 residents earn their living from the throngs of tourists who come for the Smoky Mountains and the endless fudge shops.
“I thought it would be cool if we could do something involving moonshine and tourism and share this heritage,” Baker says. “We have an incredibly rich history with making liquor, and a lot of it stems from the land and the geography. It’s an important part of who we are,” says Baker, whose own family moonshine recipe is 200 years old.
Might Baker open an Ole Smoky distillery or store in Asheville? I don’t know. This is late breaking news, and I’ll be reaching out to Ole Smoky tomorrow.