7 Nov 2017

Visiting the Jack Daniel's Distillery, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Imagine travelling for 15 hours to spend 48 hours in Tennessee...Jack Daniel's invited me over to exeperience the brand in the way it was intended
A tour of the one and only Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, followed by a tasting class
Have you heard the story about how the late Mr Jack Daniel never revealed what the iconic no.7 - found on the front of the top selling American whiskey in the world - actually represents? Or how it's always been tradition of the company to gift each employee a bottle Jack along with their monthly pay check? Even more intriguing, the strange and unfortunately circumstances of how the man himself passed away from a freak incident involving a safe?

I was oblivious to all of the above until I had the pleasure of being invited by the Jack Daniel's brand to spend a couple of days in Tennessee, with the aim to discover what makes this globally recognised brand tick, and how they have built up a grass-roots empire from a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere.
The water used in the distilling process comes from within the distillery grounds

I’d hold my hands up and be the first one to say that Jack Daniel’s isn’t a brand I’d generally reach for on the shelves. I've always seem myself as quite open minded when it comes down to it, but I am guilty of overlooking certain things if I don't have some form of connection with them. My obsession with pop culture extends to having an deep appreciation for how brands can become ingrained within daily life - through clever marketing, memorable branding design, familiarity, hard work, and deep down a (usually) honest, homegrown product. Similar to how iconic brands such as McDonald's Coca-Cola, Disney, Apple + Nintendo are all instantly recognisable by the design of their logo, Jack Daniel's is just as synonymous worldwide with whiskey and music.

My whirlwind of weekend - which involved a 15 hour journey from Blackpool to Nashville, one way! - was something I'll never forget. The journey into the depths of Tennessee felt like it was never going to end, but our opened-armed welcome into the sleepy town of Lynchburg, where every single drop of Jack Daniel's whiskey has ever been made, quickly eliminated any tiredness. The air smelt industry-sweet and smiling faces graced every front porch.

A tour of the working distillery was done by our guide, Sam, with an enthusiasm and energy that only our American brothers can seem to achieve - showing us the inner-workings of the process but also emphasising on the finer points of the brand's heritage and infrastructure. For me, these were the moments where the brand started to come alive.

 An evening at Jack's beautiful BBQ Hill lodge, the highest point in the town

Additonal photography by Will Ireland

The brand is full to the brim with age-old traditions which stay true to Mr Daniel's original vision, along with more quirks and nuances than I've ever experiences from any of my previous distillery visits. Take the unfortunately story about how the man actually died: out of frustration with forgetting the code to his safe, Jack kicked the lock in a rage, and broke his toe...infection quickly set in and it would eventually take hold of his body. A sad but legendary story. 

One of the most interesting facts about the town of Lynchburg, is that it sits within a "dry" county, where it's illegal to sell or serve alcohol on public grounds! Just imagine a town with any bars... Jack + his family somehow made it work.

Early more time alone was spend wandering the deserted streets of Nashville

I found myself with a few hours to do some solo exploration of Nashville each morning, just after sunrise. The streets were quiet enough to hear a pin drop, but a few hours earlier I have no doubt they were full of flashing lights, flowing drinks and folks out having in large. Each to their own, but that side of a city just isn't for me. It's the people that keep these places running; the business owners, characters that had walked the same routes for years, Sunday morning church-goers, and the buzz you feel from a place that you are total stranger to.

I visited Tennessee, with Jack Daniel's, as that stranger, but returned home with a total different outlook on the brand and its culture. I'll definitely never forget the time we sipped Jack cocktails at sunset, on the top of Jack's BBQ Hill, while The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach bashed out tunes with his good buddies. This is going to take some beating.

I was a guest of Jack Daniel's, who were kind enough to sponsor my trip to Nashville for the weekend. Your support of the brands + businesses we work with helps make this blog happen.


  1. Smith16:45

    Very nice story..


  2. Smith16:46

    Nice article.. thanks for sharing..


  3. What a trip! Nashville has already been on my 'to go list'. Can't get any better than JD and music though surely? Very sweet. But the history behind it is pretty fascinating. 15 hours travelling though. I can imagine after that you probably needed a bourbon or too? (PS Keep forgetting you're from my part of the world. I was born in Blackpool but grew up in Lytham St Annes. My folks still live there and I go back when I can.There's something about the seaside and fish and chips for that matter). All the best.

  4. It was a fantastic experience, Connie! Thanks for taking some time out to read it all. Hard to beat whiskey and music, but Nashville just tops things off.

    Oh no way! That's the first time you've mentioned that! I grew up here and we bought a house here about a year ago. We are near Stanley Park, if you know it?

  5. Oh yeah totally, used to spend a lot of time by the lake there as a kid with an ice cream. Yeah the houses around that part are really nice. Great stuff for getting on the property ladder too.


Thank you for taking the time out of your day to comment. Please leave your URL so we can visit your site.