You Don't Know Jack!
Lynchburg Travel Blog› entry 10 of 16 › view all entries
Miles Traveled: 42
Roads Traveled: Main Street to US-41 West (country roads and blue line all the way!)
Time on the Road: 1.5 hours
States Crossed: Sobriety
Tanks of Gas: ¼ tank
CD’s Listened to: Creedance Clearwater Revival (seemed like a fitting soundtrack for the adventure)
You Don’t Know Jack!
On the sunny Saturday afternoon that I was marooned in Cowan, I realized that I was only a mere jaunt down the road from Lynchburg, Tennessee. For those of you unaware of the importance of Lynchburg, it happens to be the birthplace of the United States’ oldest registered distillery, courtesy of one entrepreneurial young man, Mr. Jack Daniel. What I knew of Jack at that time was that he was usually a loner, but best friends with Coke and on a more inebriated evening could be persuaded to hang out with this Mexican guy, named Jose and this other Southerner, named Jim (The Three Wise-Men, my ass! Only a fool on their 21st birthday would consider this lethal concoction “wise”.) So, I decided to journey down the blue line and educate myself on the finer points of makin’ moonshine.
The Dry County Experience
“Whiskey drinkers in the 1st row. Beer guzzlers and Winos in the 2nd. All Methodists and Presbyterians please use the back door, this tour is not for you.” This is how I was greeted upon entering the hallowed halls of the distillery. I was glad to know that they have a sense of humor in an alcohol-free county. On my tour I learned about the history of the Mr. Daniel (apparently short in stature, but quite the playboy…confirmed bachelor), the history of the distillery and about the milling, charring, processing, distilling, filtering and casking. I also learned about the love that goes into crafting every single drop of Jack Daniel’s No. 7, Jack Green label, Gentleman Jack and how I can become a member of the “Single Barrel Society”, in which you get your name on the wall at the distillery, your own cask of whiskey (which equates to 36 cases) bottled with a personalized label and shipped on a flatbed to your door.
As always, a few fun facts:
Lynchburg has been a dry county before prohibition.
Jack Daniel’s recently received clearance to sell special limited edition Jack Daniel’s Whiskey on premise at the distillery ��" the only thing you do get to drink on premise is Lynchburg Lemonade.
Mr. Daniel was only 13 when he started distilling whiskey and was a mere 17 when he purchased the distillery.
Nearly all of the corn used to make the mash comes from Ohio.
Screw California, Tennessee has the happiest cows on the planet. Jack Daniel’s sells the mash that is rejected to local farmers as cow feed.
The distillery crafts their own oak casks and only use them once. They are then turned into various pieces of Jack Daniel’s Cask artwork, furniture and home accents.
The difference between whiskey and whisky is merely a drunken regional type-o.
Just like champagne is only from Epernay, France; bourbon comes ONLY from Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery pays over 13.8 billion dollars in alcohol tax alone on what they produce in a year (technically, 60% of every bottled sold goes to Uncle Sam in tax revenue.)
Supposedly, Lynchburg only has 361 residents and all of them work for Jack.
The gift shop in town does not carry anything with my name on it, but if your name happens to be Carl, Cal, Hal, Bud or Dwight…you are in luck!
“If you are in town and see men whittling on the square. Do not ask them what you they are carving. “Carving” is work, while “whittling” is something you do to avoid work.”
~ Old Lynchburg Proverb