Factor in my caffeine consumption, cabin fever from being home for the holidays and Jimmy’s propensity for mischief, and excitement is just the prologue to my ramblings.
I'm not sure what the American Dream is anymore. By today's standards, that dream has become a nightmare. Might be time to wake up and simply smell the roses (or the whiskey, as the case may be). Nonetheless, I was curious to learn more about the self-made man behind the world's top selling whiskey.
By the time Jack was 13, he owned that still. The rest, as they say, is history, history that Jimmy and I got the chance to see up close during our tour of Jack Daniel’s now National Historic Site in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Our tour began at the Visitor’s Center, just outside the town limits of Lynchburg, population 361 (at least according to the 1960 census, when the trademark for the new Jack Daniel label that bears the same information was established).
The biggest piece of Jack Daniel’s success, besides his tenacity, was and still is the Cove Spring on which Jack built his beanstalk; oops, I mean his still. Every bottle of whiskey starts with the iron-free spring water. The source of that spring is still a mystery almost 150 years later.
Lem Motlow worked for Jack Daniels for years and inherited the business in 1907 (Jack never married and never had children, although he did like the ladies) when Jack’s health began to fail as the result of a bizarre incident.
The bottom line on the Jack Daniel's Distillery:
Verdict: Fans of Jack Daniel’s whiskey won’t want to miss this iconic piece of Americana. I like a good story. Both were delivered with a hometown feel that is as genuine as it is unique.
Insider Info: Bring your walking shoes; you're going to walk a mile in Jack Daniel's shoes while seeing the nuts and bolts (or barrels and bottles, as the case may be) of an American icon. Leave backpacks and large bags in the car; they're not allowed on the tour. Arrive early if you want the tasting tour; those fill up fast. You could sign up, then do lunch in town proper while you wait. You don't want to miss seeing Lynchburg's town square; it's a piece of Americana all too often lost to progress.
How to Get There: Take exit 81A on Interstate 24 and follow the signs to Jack Daniel's Distillery OR as per directions on the Jack Daniel's Website: merge onto TN-10 S/US-231 S/S Church St/Shelbyville Hwy/US-231 Scenic S toward Shelbyville. Continue to follow TN-10 S/US-231 S 23.1 mi. Continue onto N Main St 0.3 mi. Continue straight onto Public Square E 344 ft. Continue onto S Main St 0.4 mi. Continue onto S Brittain St 0.3 mi. Turn left onto TN-82 S/Kingree Rd Continue to follow TN-82 S.
Nearby Food: There were plenty of options in the town square of Lynchburg that were reminiscent of the Mom and Pop places where the food represents the best of hometown cooking and the service makes you feel like family. A favorite of Jack Daniel was Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House Restaurant, 295 Main Street. The Bar-B-Que Caboose Café and the Iron Kettle Restaurant are also on Main Street.