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Matt Cunningham, proprietor of Old Glory Distilling Company talks about his love for Clarksville, firefighting and distilling.
Lacy Atkins / USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

“When people ask what’s in Clarksville, I hope this (distillery) comes to mind.”

Matt Cunningham’s thirst for adventure has guided his life.

It’s what persuaded him to abandon his plans to work in wealth management and instead run into burning buildings as a Clarksville firefighter. And it’s what ultimately persuaded him to put his finance degree to use by starting his own business in his early 20s.

“You think you’re Superman at that point. You can do everything,” he said. “I kinda dove headfirst into it.”

Now Cunningham, is bringing the craft spirits trend to Clarksville, making locally sourced whiskey, rum and vodka at the Old Glory Distilling Co. off Wilma Rudolph Boulevard.

Cunningham wasn’t drawn into the liquor business by “going out and getting sloshed,” he said. His long-term goal is to bring added notoriety to his hometown.

With local impact as his top priority, Cunningham sought out suppliers from the area.

Eight to 10 thousand pounds of corn come in every week or two from Longvue Farms in Allensville, Ky., which is about 20 minutes away from the distillery. Cunningham went to church when he was a kid with the farmer who grows it.

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