Spirits with a Story to Tell: Burnt Church Distillery

Authentic Lowcountry spirits that honor local history and give back to the community. Thoughtfully crafted for the discernible palate and inquisitive mind.

Photos: Ian Santiago

Just when you think you know everything about the South Carolina Lowcountry, along comes Burnt Church Road and Bluffton, SC’s newest gem, Burnt Church Distillery; rooted in unearthing the truth behind where the road got its name, as well as demystifying local folklore that went along with it.


If Billy J. Watterson is known as the brains behind Burnt Church Distillery, Sean Watterson would be the hands.

A true entrepreneur, Billy has founded many brands over the past 20 years. When he discovered the Lowcountry in 2002, he was enamored with its aura of ease, southern hospitality, and true, inherent beauty. His love for this place and it’s deep-rooted traditions is what moved him to his latest endeavor – a distillery.

Sean is a self-taught Renaissance Man, a modern-day jack-of-all-trades. He balances the art and science of distilling with pure heart and soul – crafting each spirit so perfectly, even the most sophisticated whiskey connoisseurs are impressed.

Both Watterson brothers are passionate about crafting authentic Lowcountry spirits that honor the history of the South Carolina Lowcountry and give back to its communities. Their hope is to make a heartfelt impact on all who are eager to learn and taste.

L-R co-founders, Billy and Sean Watterson

Where They’ve Come From and Where They’re Going

Burnt Church began in the years surrounding the Civil War, the days of plantation life, and delved deeper into the 20th century, including a stop on the polo grounds in Old Westbury on the North Shore of Long Island in New York. Their founder’s discoveries include those of tragedy and jubilation; the demise of Lowcountry plantations, the rise of new industries, and the advent of private hunting and sporting clubs. All before developers swooped in and began building gated communities with private golf courses. They even explored the real stories behind local legends as they navigated through the Lowcountry’s deep and rich history surrounding Burnt Church Road.

The question, “Where does a name like Burnt Church Road come from?” drove us to embark on this multi-year journey.

Finally, the answers we craved have become a reality. Luckily, so have their corresponding Lowcountry spirits.

In The Sanctuary, you will see three sections: to your left is the Locals’ Bar where you can order spirit tastings and craft cocktails, in the center will be a massive and light-filled bar that you will definitely want to experience on your first trip to the distillery, and to your right will be the VIP Area for our Elite Members only. You will be able to see the Production Area from the Tasting Room, where all the spirits are distilled and produced. Outside and to the right of the Tasting Room, you’ll see Burnt Church’s event space, Square 67, and go-to pizza spot, Pizza Co.


Burnt Church Distillery hopes to be a historical and educational communal destination for locals and tourists alike to learn about distilling and the rich history of our surroundings.


“Listen, we get it. When it comes to distilling spirits, we’re the little guys. We know we can’t beat the old school whiskey legends at their own game – and we don’t want to. We’re here to make a meaningful contribution by crafting unique and flavorful spirits wrapped in history and shared experience.”

About Burnt Church Distillery 

Burnt Church Distillery is a Watterson Brands company. Co-founder, Billy Watterson, is a true entrepreneur. Over the past 20 years, he has founded more than 20 brands and guided them from start-up to success. When he discovered the Lowcountry in 2002, he was enamored with its stunning live oak trees, steady stream of sunshine, and coastal climate. You might find Billy sipping an Old Fashioned at the distillery, or even indulging in a little Johnny Fever Bourbon.

Sean Watterson, is a self-taught Renaissance Man and modern-day jack-of-all-trades. Sean balances the art and science of distilling with pure heart and soul. He loves each spirit for its individual nuances and finding the beauty in them. As our “mad scientist,” you may find Sean while you’re touring the distillery, crafting and concocting new and exciting recipes.

Find them online at burntchurchdistillery.com, or via phone at 843.872.0158 / 120 Bluffton Road, Bluffton, SC 29910

Monday-Thursday 12pm-9pm
Friday-Saturday 12pm-10pm
Sunday 12pm-8pm