The Jack Daniel’s distillery
Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel was born on 5 September 1850. Certain biographers however are more inclined to place his date of birth around September 1846. An early starter, Jack Daniel is said to have bought his distillery from his former boss at the age of 13! Even if these dates are the subject of debate, contrary to various rumours, Jack Daniel is anything but a myth.
This man, and his famous moustaches, may have been small in stature but his talent was immense. A veritable visionary, Jack Daniel was one of the pioneers of modern marketing; he understood the strength of a brand before anyone else. That is doubtlessly why, over a century after its launch, the famous Old N°7 is the highest-selling American whiskey on the planet.
When Jack Daniel passed away in 1911, his nephew, Lem Motlow, took over as head of the distillery. During Prohibition he retreated to Saint Louis (Missouri) where he founded a new distillery. Then in 1938, Lem Motlow relaunched the Lynburg site, and three years later the designation Tennessee Whiskey was officially recognised. It differs from the bourbon designation in the use of the “Lincoln Country Process”, in which the spirit is filtered through maple charcoal. One of the highlights of the guided tour through the distillery is the hall that houses the numerous filtration vats for this purpose.
Located in the small village of Lynchburg, in the heart of rural Tennessee, its appearance hardly screams world leader. The gap between the power of the brand and the isolation of the distillery is striking. The sparkling new visitors’ centre inaugurated in 1999, a veritable museum paying tribute to the star of Jack Daniel’s is, on the other hand, impressive. But if you feel like buying a bottle or tasting a glass of Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, you’ll need to make a little trip, as it is located in a “dry” county. Luckily Jack Daniel’s has obtained a special exemption so that it can sell commemorative bottlings on site. Collectors take note!