Jack Daniels’ Bar Miztvah Project

Jack Daniels TourWhile just a wee thing, Jack Daniels learned about distilling whiskey. When he turned 13 his teachers found the error of their ways and took to the Spirit, instead of spirits, and left Jack to fend for himself. And fend he did, making a product, brand, and a successful business. Indeed, he became a man at 13. (For those keeping score at home, no, he wasn’t Jewish; I just liked the poetry of it!)

The Distillery tour in Lynchburg, Tennessee is spectacularly more interesting than expected. And for a woman who only recently graduated to lager (from cider), their marketing videos made me THIRSTY for a shot of Jack.

Prohibition of course played a major part in the company’s history. When Tennessee went dry, Jack sold whiskey in Alabama to soldiers in the Civil War. When the whole country went dry the company later got permission to produce alcohol in the county even though it can’t be sold. And just recently the county was convinced of the benefits to sell Jack Daniels to tourists – tax dollars at work! Now the municipality is well-staffed, -sidewalked, and -maintained.

So how is it made? Wood is quite important. They make their own barrels (and sell the used ones to Scotland for Scotch and New Orleans for Tabasco). And the wood burned to make coal is expensive – I think he said $1 a plank. That coal is mixed with crushed maple sugar and distills impurities…one drip at a time. A rig dispenses the whiskey through plumbing over 4-5 feet of charcoal and it takes five days for a drop to make its way to the bottom.  Mellow.

Jack Daniels Very Special Coal

Very Special Coal

Jack Daniels Distillery

Making the Very Special Coal

Shovels for the Jack Daniels Very Special Coal

Shovels for the Very Special Coal

This is the only place in the world to make Jack Daniels whiskey – it’s all shipped from here. 20,000 barrels are stored per building, with 77 on the property. 1 million gallons of whiskey. I suspect they have good security.

Want a barrel of your own? They’ll raise a black flag when you come to buy it, and put your name on a plaque. The wall where I stood included such prestigious buyers as Costco of Mexico and Kevin Spacey’s 50th birthday.

2 Responses

05.01.11

Hope you finally got that shot you were thirsting for after retaining all this great info. to then share. What a fun trip this must have been.

05.01.11

i still have not had the shot!
will you let me know if you get this reply to your post. so i know how/if this thing works!

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