A whiskey full of history and flavor

Tourists view Jack Daniel Distillery memorabilia

Tourists view Jack Daniel distillery memorabilia.

The second smallest county with one traffic light, Lynchburg, Tenn., is the wettest dry county. Lynchburg is the home of the Jack Daniels distillery and where two thirds of the world’s whiskey are made. The small and quaint town is a dry county and has been since prohibition, so the product is not available for drinking at stores or restaurants within the county.

“There are always ways around prohibition,” says Betty, Jack Daniel’s tour guide. “The first Friday of every month with our paycheck, we are given a bottle of Jack.”

The employees call this Friday “Good Friday.” The distillery is the town’s main attraction among other quaint town attractions: a bed and breakfast, local hardwood store and general store. Tourists can drop by for a guided tour of the distillery. The tours are partially outdoors and include about 3.4 miles of walking. The tours can be anywhere from one hour and 10 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes. The latter tour includes a sampling tour of the Jack Daniels product.

After pictures, the tour begins. On the tour, tourists are driven down on a tour bus through the town square and the one traffic light to the first spot on the tour, the barrelhouses. The barrelhouses, are seven stories tall houses over a million gallons of whiskey. The distillery is rooted in tradition and craftsmanship.

“The barrels of whiskey are rolled into the barrelhouse by hand,” said Betty, Jack Daniel’s tour guide. “Barrel rollers are typically proud of their jobs and will even pass jobs down to generations.”

The Rickyard was next. The Rickyard is where Jack Daniel’s makes the charcoal used in the filtration process. Seasoned maple sits for six months before logs are set a fire to create the charcoal.

The Limestone Spring at the Jack Daniel's distilliery.

The Limestone Spring at the Jack Daniel’s distillery.

Another stop on the tour is the reason Jack stayed in Lynchburg, the natural spring in a limestone cave. This water is iron free, pure, and used in every bottle of jack Daniels. The cave spring flows at 56 degrees year around.

Tour guide Betty gives a little history of Jack.

Jack’s office was another stop on the tour; it is the only original building on the property. Here tourists heard the story of Jack’s life and how he died. The tour included the distilling process, the corn, barley, and rye together create the mash. The mellowing process and the barreling process follow. The distillery has kept to the standards and processes that make them profitable. The process has not changed from its founder’s.

“The history of how they make, the whiskey and the processes behind it is so amazing,” Amy Mercante, tourist from Louisiana.

Tourists are treated to a tour of the complete whiskey making process and shown all the intricate detail that goes into a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. The sampling tour concluded with a taste tasting of four of the Jack Daniel’s products, Gentleman Jack, charcoal filtered twice, Black Label, this is the original Jack Daniel’s, Single Barrel; whiskey from a single barrel, and Tennessee Honey, Honey blended liquor.

Jack on the rock statue.

Jack on the rock statue.

Jack Daniel died in 1911, and the family afterward ran the business. It was sold in 1959 to Brown-Forman Corporation. Today, it is a five billion dollar company and contributes to 76% of revenue for Brown-Forman. It contributes about 14.5 million  to 16 million in federal tax revenue for the state of Tennessee. Tours, are offered daily. The white rabbit bottle shop in the visitors center sells Jack Daniels whiskey and for every bottle sold, $3.50 is given to the county.




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