Saturday, April 20, 2013

Jack Daniel's Distillery...

The Jack Daniels Distillery is in the middle of beautiful countryside, with a babbling brook running through the grounds and surrounded by trees.  You walk over a little bridge on your way to the main entrance...

Passing the old barrel flower pots and rocking chairs on the porch...

 As you walk in the main building there's a little museum, with all sorts of bits and pieces from the Jack Daniels history...

After mooching around the museum it was time for the tour. Each tour is run by an employee of Jack Daniels, complete with dungarees, baseball cap and a southern drall - our guide was a very lovely man called Ron...

 Before the tour he told us to stay close, he wanted us to walk around in a 'purdy lil herd' so we could hear all his stories.

He walked us round the grounds of the distillery we saw snippets of every stage of the whisky making process, from cooking off the mulch, to filtering the whisky through charcoal, to the barrelling room and the bottling plant... it was fascinating!

We saw Jack Daniel's original office, where he used to run all his business from...

Which is where he kept his safe, the safe that would eventually kill him!

Apparently one day he was trying to get into the safe and couldn't unlock it so out of frustration he kicked the safe - he broke his toe and had to walk with a cane, the broken toe eventually became infected with gangreen and it had to be amputated! Over the years the infection spread and he had more amputations until eventually the infection got so bad he died of it!

The barrel rooms were amazing, they're essentially big barns, 7 stories high, without any floors, just barrels stacked up on top of each other. The barns don't have any insulation because the changing in the weather helps with the aging process - as the barrels get warm and cold the wood expands and contracts to whisky is pulled in and out of the wood. The inside of the barrels have all been charred so it gives the whisky a smoky taste.

There are big barrel barns dotted around on top of hills all over Tennessee - but luckily they had a smaller one that we could go and look round... the smell was incredible!

 At the beginning of the tour Ron was explaining that Lynchburg is a dry county, so it's illegal to sell alcohol - but they are allowed to give it away as a gift (I got very exciting thinking that we'd all get a free bottle!) - so at the end of each month, along with their paycheque every employee gets a bottle of Jack Daniels as a gift!

Towards the end of the tour Ron told us that Jack Daniel's had managed to get a special law passed by the government to be the only people in Lynchburg allowed to sell alcohol - as long as they are limited edition or collectors items (which is why they can sell 'South African' bottles in that shop). So luckily they had a shop at the end of the tour that sold limited edition bottles, most of which were exactly the same price as normal bottles, so we got an anniversary edition bottle of Jack to take back with us.

There was a section of the tour where we saw the single barrel room, there's a wall of fame full of plaques with people who have bought a whole barrel of Jack Daniels! If you want to buy the barrel you're invited to a tasting where you try a whisky from three different barrels, then you can say which barrel you'd like. Apparently a single barrel is a life time's supply, 250 bottles worth!

So for $12,000 you 250 bottles of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Whisky (all boxed up), you get THE barrel it came in, all varnished up with a plaque on top with your name on it and you get a plaque on the wall in Lynchburg... it works out at $48 per bottle which is pretty good... One day!

It was an absolutely day, we loved Lynchburg, we loved the tour and we loved Ron - it was the perfect start to our little Tennessee Tour.

No comments:

Post a Comment