Jack Daniels Distillery and the first annual trek of the Dudleys
Update: On July 17, 2017, we received an email from an organization called COPYTRACK notifying us that the images used in this article were copyrighted and requesting a payment for royalty fees. We believe this to be spam and not a representation of the Jack Daniels company. However, it was never our intent to do anything but provide a quality review of the company’s wonderful tour that we received several years ago. As such, we have removed the images while we attempt to reach out to the Jack Daniels company to resolve any concerns they may have with this article.
Several years ago, my good friends Rich and Greg agreed to our first of what was to become an annual week long outage on the motorcycles which I miss greatly today. Without much of a plan other than a week off of work and some camping gear strapped to the bikes, we left the hills of West Virginia and headed in the direction of Tennessee.
I could (and probably will in later posts) share some great stories from all along the road on that first trip with good friends but for the purpose of this post, I decided to share the details of one of my favorite stops, the Jack Daniels distillery.
Now, I must admit that if there is a weakness in my liver that is hard to deny, it is the taste of this favorite of my adult beverages, Old No. 7. Regardless of the label or if it has the new spin of honey mixed in, I love me some JD. So, I was excited at the prospect of this stop. I wasn’t disappointed.
Lynchburg Tennessee is the home of this distillery and the history is a fascinating story well worth the visit. The first thing that struck me as interesting was the fact that despite being the location of a major operational distillery, Jack Daniel’s home county of Moore is a dry county, so the product is not available for purchase at stores or restaurants within the county. But, don’t let that keep you from visiting. You can still pick up a bottle (or even a barrel) in their store.
Officially established in 1866 The Jack Daniel Distillery is the very first registered distillery within the US, with Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel, as the Master Distiller. Another thing that I personally found interesting was the natural spring located on the property that has always served as the primary source of water for the distilling process and, one might assume, an integral part of the Jack Daniels recipe.
Our tour guide of the facility did an absolutely wonderful job. He was not only very entertaining but also very knowledgeable of both the history and the distillery process that is Jack Daniels. From the odd strange mold-like substance growing on the trees surrounding the facility, to the strong odors associated with the fermentation process, we got the full story of the company’s history along with some great laughs as this local resident and long time employee of Jack Daniels shared some great stories and history.
Another thing that I found fascinating was the sheer number of barrels suspended throughout the warehouse and awaiting just the right time to be shared with consumers. I have to admit that, while I would have loved to have a full barrel of this delightful beverage, the price tag for a full barrel at the time of our visit was several thousand dollars and outside of my budget at the time.
But, have no fear. The shopping district in ‘down town’ Lynchburg not only has some great restaurants and novelty shops (including some that my appealed to the biker in us) but also is sure to take advantage of the popularity of the Jack Daniels brand. Here you will find amazing items made from the barrels and other materials that are generated by the distillery. I could have spent hours and hours exploring the quaint little shops and had I not been on the motorcycle, I would have certainly brought home a lot more souvenirs. (I’m sure they offered shipping)
There were a number of camping opportunities nearby but as our next stop (and possibly next story) awaited us in the Gatlinburg, TN area and a great scenic ride was between us and that destination, we only spent a few hours in Lynchburg. But, it was well worth the stop.
You can learn more about the distillery, their tours, and the local community on the Jack Daniels website and I highly recommend adding this stop to your bucket list for your next road trip!