Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You don't know Jack

I have always prided myself on being a native Tennessean. After turning 21 and trying out all the various drink combinations, I naturally gravitated towards enjoying a whiskey sour as my drink of choice, and at a wedding last summer, upon ordering said drink at the bar, I was met with a question: Do you want Jack Daniel's or Jim Beam?

"Jack," I replied instantaneously. "I'm from Tennessee."

So fast-forward to this past Saturday, when I made my first visit to the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, TN. It's one of those things that you take for granted being from around here that I had never done. But Brian was in town visiting, and it was a beautiful day for a drive, so off we went. It was a really fun way to spend the afternoon. It took about an hour to get there, and of course Saturdays are the most crowded days, so my biggest complaint was that the tour groups they divide you into were fairly large, making it sometimes hard to get close enough to hear the tourguide.

Brian and I wandered around the visitor's center while we waited for our tour to start, reading about the history of the Jack Daniel's distillery. Some facts I learned:

  • The man's name was Jack Daniel- not Jack Daniels.
  • He was 5'2" in stature- same as me!
  • Jack learned the art of making whiskey from a minister, who later sold his distillery to focus more on his ministry to Jack at the ripe old age of 13
  • The distillery is located in Moore county- a dry county by choice even before Prohibition
  • Jack Daniel never married, although he was notoriously quite the ladies' man
Paul our tour guide was a character! Dressed in wranglers and camo, he told more jokes than he did inform us about the art of making whiskey, and even as a southerner I had trouble understanding his mumbling drawl! (I felt sorry for the people from Germany and Brazil in our tour group!) One of the first things we did on the tour was to take a group picture. We were informed it would be posted on the Jack Daniel's website in 7 days, and so if we were with someone we ought not to be with, then we best step aside when the picture was being taken, Paul informed us! Walking around outside the distillery it smelled heavenly of yeast but once inside one of the rooms, we got a whif of 140 proof whiskey-in-the-making that almost knocked me over! In another building we were able to see where the bottles were filled, sealed, and packaged. The last place we toured was the barrell room where the finished whiskey is aged in oak barrels, and I thought I would gag when we entered the barn, the alcohol smell was so pungent. Probably the best advice I was given by my sister before we went was, don't go to the distillery if you have a hangover! And at that moment I could see why. At the end of the tour we ended up back at the visitor's center where you could purchase special collector's bottles of Jack Daniel's finest- the loop hole around the distillery being in a dry county- only special collector's bottles may be sold.

Touring the Jack Daniel's Distillery was a great way to spend an afternoon. It was very educational and a great tribute to one of the unique landmarks in Tennessee. Best of all, the tours are free!


Mark Kelly Hall said...

While you're on the subject* here's a JS alert:

• Singer/songwriter Jeffrey Steele announces the first Alex LeVasseur Fund Festival from 1 to 9:30 p.m. June 24 at Jim Warren Park in Franklin. Proceeds from the event that includes live music, skate demonstrations and giveaways will benefit The Alex LeVasseur Memorial Fund, which sends kids to skate camps. The foundation is named after Jeffrey's son, Alex, who was killed at age 13 earlier this year in a tragic accident. Admission: free. Info:

*(If you don't see the connection between alcohol and songwriters--myself being an exception--you havent been in Nashville long enough.)

Anonymous said...

does his shirt say i love hot moms?

MamaB said...

Ditto Laura--does his shirt say "I Heart Hot Moms"?????? No wonder I didn't get the chance to meet Brian last weekend!! HA HA HA

Anonymous said...

you're right mrs. b. i bet bradley's afraid he's going to hit on you! :)