Jack introduces two new small-batch Tasters’ Series bottles

Keebler’s Jamaican Allspice Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and finishes it for 180 days with toasted Jamaican allspice wood to create a nose of fruit, smoke, and sweet tobacco. (Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery)

LYNCHBURG — They may be a global whiskey making company but that doesn’t mean that Jack Daniel’s Distillery isn’t also producing some of the best small batch, experimental whiskeys available on the market.

Today, they announced the sixth and seventh whiskeys in its Tennessee Tasters’ Selection series. Each release is sold in 375-ml bottles and are available exclusively at the Jack Daniel Distillery and a very few select stores across Tennessee. The bottles reflect sample bottles used daily by Jack Daniel’s Master Tasters and include a customized label, distillery name embossment on the front, and Taster Sampler Bottle mark on the back of the glass structure.

Master Taster Melvin Keebler selected the first new bottle called Jamaican Allspice. It takes Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and finishes it for 180 days with toasted Jamaican allspice wood to create a nose of fruit, smoke, and sweet tobacco.

Master Taster Jessica Hartline created 14E19 Twin Blend, which gets its name from the entry date of 20 barrels of Tennessee Whiskey and 30 barrels of Tennessee Rye that entered the barrelhouses on May 19, 2014. She selected the 50 barrels and blended them to produce a flavorful and complex 107 proof whiskey with complementing spice and floral accents.

“Our newest additions to the Tennessee Tasters’ series represent the creativity and craftsmanship that Mr. Jack began with more than 150 years ago,” said Master Distiller Chris Fletcher. “Our Master Tasters embodied that spirit with these bottles by complementing the character of our classic Tennessee Whiskey with rare woods for the Jamaican Allspice bottle and hand-selected barrels of Tennessee Rye for the Twin Blend. We can’t wait for our friends to try them.”

The two new releases are limited to approximately 24,000 bottles for each release, the distillery introduces them several times each year after being carefully chosen by Jack Daniel’s Master Tasters to deliver unique and diverse experiences. They sell for $39.99 each. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Jack Daniel’s names Chris Fletcher new Master Distiller

Chris Fletcher worked as Assistant Master Distiller under Jeff Arnett and is the grandson of former Master Distiller, Frank Bobo. Jack Daniel named him Master Distiller on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Jack Daniel’s)

LYNCHBURG — On Wednesday, Jack Daniel’s Distillery announced that Chris Fletcher would become the eighth person ever to be named Master Distiller.

Fletcher follows Jeff Arnett who took over the position in April 2008 and stepped down in September.

Fletcher, 39, had previously served for six years as Assistant Master Distiller and will be responsible for the overall quality of Jack Daniel’s from “grain to glass,” innovation and serve as a global ambassador.  In addition, he will oversee the distillery’s new “Distillers in Training” program which aims to recruit, teach, and mentor the next generation of whiskey makers.  

Born and raised in Lynchburg, and now carrying on a family tradition, Fletcher is the grandson of former Master Distiller Frank Bobo, who served in the role from 1966 until his retirement in 1989.

“For the past six years, Chris has been right there and involved in every major distillery innovation, product and enhanced production process while ensuring our Tennessee Whiskey is of the highest character and quality,” said Larry Combs, Jack Daniel Distillery SVP and General Manager. “Chris has whiskey making in his blood, but he also has this incredible and unique combination of knowledge, expertise and creativity that will position us well into the future. Folks like Chris don’t come along every day, and backed by our tremendous senior leadership team, I have no doubt that he will flourish in this new role.”

Fletcher’s work at Jack Daniel’s stretches back to 2001 when he worked as a part-time tour guide while attending college. He graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Tennessee Technological University in 2003 and began work as a chemist with Brown-Forman in Research and Development for eight years. Following several years working in the bourbon industry, Fletcher came back home to the Jack Daniel Distillery and was named Assistant Master Distiller.

“It’s an honor to be named Master Distiller here at Jack Daniel’s and join a line of folks who’ve made the best whiskey in the world,” said Chris Fletcher. “Over the last 17 years, I’ve been able to learn and work alongside so many talented whiskey makers, and I am very grateful for the mentors I’ve had, including Jeff Arnett who taught me so much. Our distillery and team here in Lynchburg are the best in the business, and I cannot wait to continue working with them crafting the world’s favorite Tennessee Whiskey.”

Chris, his wife, Ashley, and three-month old son, Payne Thomas, live in Lynchburg, Tennessee. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Jack wants you to “Make It Count” in new ad campaign

What have you always wanted to do? Jack Daniel’s wants to know in its new Make It Count campaign. (Art courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery)

Order one of everything on the menu, throw your ringing cell phone in the lake, order a round for the entire bar … what have you always wanted to do?

That’s the question Jack Daniel’s asks in their new Make It Count ad campaign, which launched globally on October 1. The campaign will appear on TV, social media, digital, and print platforms in over 100 countries.

According to a press release, the new campaign is meant to showcase the Lynchburg distillery’s unique view of the world — “to live boldly and with purpose every day, much like Mr. Jack did throughout his own life.”

The 60 second First Timers video highlights a group of Jack Daniel’s drinkers deciding to live boldly and do things they’ve always wanted to do. A production team shot the new video in Kiev, Ukraine over five days while the creative and clients teams watched from an appropriate social distance on Zoom. To watch the video, click here.

The brainchild of creative agency Energy BBDO, the inspiration for the campaign came from a vintage Jack Daniel’s ad that read: Proudly served in fine establishments and questionable joints. It’s a reminder that Jack Daniels is for everyone.

“Relaunching an iconic brand like Jack Daniel’s? We’ve always wanted to do that. It has been a wonderful collaboration with our client partners, and we’re thrilled for what’s to come,” said Josh Gross and Pedro Pérez, Co-Chief Creative Officers of Energy BBDO.

Media agency Spark Foundry will handle the global ad buy. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

The Unexpected Life of Jack Daniel

By Tabitha Evans Moore | Editor & Publisher

Unlike many brands with a larger-than-life namesake, Jack Daniel existed as a real person, one who walked the streets of Lynchburg. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

Honeysuckle garland hangs around the sprawling front porch of a brick mansion situated on a bluff overlooking the East Fork of the Mulberry Creek. In the distance, you can see the lights of Lynchburg two miles away. Mercantile stores, a couple of saloons, a flour mill, a barrel factory, a tannery, a tin shop, and three blacksmiths — all thrive inside the Lynchburg city limits thanks, in part, to their business with the distillery.

Horses and carriages line the estate’s drive and a single Oldsmobile shines in the distance. That’s Jack’s car — the only automobile in town. The cool September night air carries the sound of children playing outside and music playing inside.

As the guests arrive, Elizabeth Motlow (Jack’s sister) and her husband, Connor, offer wide smiles and a beverage from a silver tray — a Tansy Julep (Jack’s favorite drink) or a healthy pour of Old No. 7 neat. Lemonade and cookies for the kids sits on a table out front.

Upstairs in the ballroom, a group of local musicians plays in the far left corner as Nearest Green sits nearby clapping, keeping time with the musicians, and encouraging the dancers. Jack intentionally placed his old friend’s table here. Nearest loves the pulse of the music. His sons, Eli and George, sit beside him with grinning bemusement.

It looks like the entire town is here and the walls line with smiling faces. As Jasper Newton — long known as Uncle Jack by this point — enters the room his infectious, larger-than-life presence commands the room.

He only stands five foot two but his signature outfit — a wide-brimmed country squire hat and formal, black, knee-length frock coat make him seem much taller. His bright, almond-shaped eye survey his friends and family and a sincere smile breaks out under the broad, full mustache that cascades over his top lip.

If we could have watched — local beverage in hand — as a Jasper Newton Daniel birthday party unfolded, it might have looked a lot like this.

Unlike many brands based on a personality, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey springs from a real person … one who lived and breathed right here in Lynchburg. You’ve stood where he stood. You’ve seen what he saw.

The story Jack Daniel leaving home at a young age, living with Dan Call, meeting and learning whiskey-making from Nearest Green, and eventually launching a whiskey brand that would become world famous are now well known facts. What’s less well known is Jasper Newton or Uncle Jack the man his family and friends knew during his lifetime. To celebrate his birthday month, I decided to examine the unexpected life of Jasper Newton Daniel the man not Jack Daniel the brand.

“You know Jack was an amazing person, and everything we do today really flows out of what Jack was doing back then,” says unofficial Jack Daniel historian Nelson Eddy, of Finn Partners — Jack Daniel’s marketing and communications firm.

Eddy’s marketing presence at the distillery dates back 33 year to the days of tourism trailblazer and legendary storyteller Roger Brashears and Postcards from Lynchburg ad campaign creator, Art Hancock.

“The Motlow family hired Art and I considered him a mentor,” says Eddy. “Over the years, they shared files and information with me and that kind of led to this role.”

When we asked him what most people don’t know or might find surprising about Jasper Newton Daniel’s life, he had plenty to say.

Jack was likely born in 1848 not 1850

Though no one can definitively prove the actual birthday of Jack Daniel, September 1848 is a pretty good guess. It’s a date historians came to through deduction using the U.S. Census from those days and local oral histories as their guide.

“We knew the 1850 date on the Jack Daniel statue at the distillery was wrong based on the correct date of his mother’s death,” Eddy says.

Jack’s mother, Lucinda Cook Daniel died in 1849, not 1847, as it states on her tombstone at the Lynchburg Cemetery, according Nearest Green Distillery founder Fawn Weaver in her recent forward to Ben A. Green’s Jack Daniel’s Legacy.

“In piecing together all available information (including the original handwritten diary of Jack’s sister, Louisa, housed at the Albert Gore Research Center), I was able to determine Jack likely wrote a “9” at the end of his mother’s death year when ordering the gravestone marker and the monument mason mistakenly took the “9” for a “7,” she says.

According to Eddy, no one’s ever discovered Jasper Newton Daniels birth certificate and based on the times, it’s not a given that one existed. Birth certificates weren’t a requirement in the United States until after the turn of the century, and they cost money. With 10 children, Jack’s parents may not have filed one to save money, Eddy says.

“But we know that back then, the Census listed a person’s age as of their last birthday. If the June 1850 U.S. Census lists Jack’s as a one year old in September 1849 then his birth year must have been 1848.”

Jack Daniel and Nearest Green weren’t contemporaries

By now, everyone knows the genesis of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Jack learned the famous Lincoln County Process from a Black slave on the Dan Call farm by the name of Nathan “Nearest” Green and by all accounts made him the first official Master Distiller when he purchased the Lois still from Call. Around 1884, Jack purchased a piece of property located near Cave Spring Hollow in Lynchburg and soon after, he introduced the world to his Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey.

Based on a historical photo from the early days at the Lynchburg distillery, many believe that Jack and Nearest were around the same age but that’s not true. By the time that photo was taken, Nearest had retired from the whiskey making business and returned to live on the Call’s farm.

Based on this historical photo from the early days of Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, many mistake the man seated to Jack’s right (left in the photo) as Nearest Green. According to family members, that’s actually George Green, Nearest’s son. {Historic photo courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

“When Jack sets up at the cave spring in Lynchburg, Nearest stays with Dan Call in Lois on the farm,” says Eddy. “Jack then hires Green’s sons, Eli and George, to work at the distillery and we know from conversations with the Green family that that’s George seated to Jack’s right in that photo.”

“Just after the end of the Civil War, Jack’s relationship with the Green family was such that he sat George to his right in that photo, which would have been a position of honor,” Eddy says. “It was unheard of in that time period.”

Jack likely inherited his love of music from Uncle Nearest

Little Jack Daniel likely thought of Nearest Green like a favorite uncle and it’s well documented that Green’s influence on young Jack went well beyond whiskey making.

According to oral histories, Nearest Green played a mean fiddle and Dan Call often hosted dances on the farm with Nearest playing and Dan calling dances to the delight of the guests. It’s a tradition Jack Daniel continued as he became successful.

Jack Daniel’s home burned several years after his death, but in its day it existed as a mansion overlooking a bluff not far from where the Jack Daniel’s Distillery south processing plant sits now. He built a ballroom on the second floor of the house with a Steinway grand piano in the corner and often hosted community dances there, according to Eddy.

This exists as the only known photo of Jack Daniel’s home, which once sat on a bluff overlooking the East Fork of the Mulberry Creek near the old Lynchburg, Fayetteville Turnpike. You can see Jack’s brother-in-law, Connor Motlow, seated on the right side of the porch. The identity of the man holding the Tennessee Walking horse is not known. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

“That mutual love of music is probably the reason why Jack Daniel decides to outfit the Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Cornet Band,” says Eddy.

Jack Daniel loved speed

Both Eddy and Ben Green’s Legacy book paint a picture of a young Jack Daniel with energy to spare and no time to sit by idly.

From oral histories, we know that young Jack Daniel ran instead of walked nearly everywhere he went. He loved speed and he loved horses, of which he owned many. In fact, Jack Daniel mounted on a horse became a familiar sight not only Moore County but also Coffee County, Flat Creek, and beyond.

Whether he was riding alone, in a wagon delivering whiskey, in a buggy behind speedy horse, Jack Daniel was on the move. Horse riding eventually developed into experiencing horse-power as Jack Daniel was rumored to have owned the very first automobile in the county.

“It makes sense,” says Eddy. “He would have been the wealthiest man in the county and he has a love of speed.”

Jack Daniel lived as a true, southern gentleman

According to Eddy, Jasper Newton Daniel lived much like a Gentleman Jack of his time. He loved to joke and had a great sense of humor. He courted (though unsuccessfully) and threw great parties.

“He was a genuinely good guy in an industry filled with unsavory characters,” Weaver states in her Legacy preface.

He also exuded a certain dapper sense of style: formal, black knee-length frock coat, fawn-colored, silk-lined vest, broad tie, trimmed mustache and goatee, topped with a country squire hat. Even if you had not known who he was exactly, he would have stood out in a crowd.

Though he left school early, Jack Daniel received an education thanks to the persistence of Dan Call’s wife, Mary Jane.

Many people think of Jack Daniel as uneducated, but we know that not to be true, says Eddy. He loved to read and cherished his books — writing his name in them several times so that they’d always find their way home.

“One book we know he owned because it exists today with his name written in it is a copy of Ben Hur, a book written by a Lew Wallace a former Union general in 1880,” says Eddy.

Known around town as The Donations Man, Jack Daniel financed many a church project, farm, businesses, and family emergency. He was known to give lavish birthday and wedding presents and often loaned money even though he knew there was little change he’d be repaid. It’s a local legend that Jack Daniel financed every church in Moore County — save the one that refused money from that “whiskey maker.”

“It is said that he would have died a poor man if his nephews, Lem and Tom Motlow, had not helped him conserve some resources,” Green writes in the Legacy book.

In the end, Eddy says Jack Daniel lived more like a Apple’s Steve Jobs than inventor Thomas Edison.

“He didn’t invent whiskey making or the Lincoln County Process,” says Eddy. “Charcoal mellowing was just the ways things were done back then and it was likely brought over from Africa as a slave tradition.”

Eddy says fifteen other people in Moore County were making whiskey at the same time Jack Daniel made whiskey and they all used the Lincoln County Process. Jack Daniel just did it better. He changed out his charcoal vats often resulting in an award-winning product known for its “pureness and exceptional quality.”

It’s the same product (though slightly lower proofed) made the same way that sits on liquor store shelves today. So, as September comes to an end, grab a bottle of the original Old No. 7, pour yourself a generous glass, and a raise a toast to Jasper Newton Daniel — a Lynchburg original. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Master Distiller Jeff Arnett leaving Jack Daniel’s

After 20 years with Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Jeff Arnett is stepping down from his position. No official word yet on what’s next for the distillery’s seventh master distiller or who will replace him. {Photo Credit: Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

Jack Daniel’s announced Thursday morning that following a 20-year career at the distillery – including the last 12 years as master distiller – Jeff Arnett was stepping down from his position with the company. According to sources, employees were informed via a company wide email on Wednesday.

Arnett took over the position in April 2008 and was the distillery’s seventh master distiller following a long line of whiskey makers including Jess Motlow, Lem Tolley, Jess Gamble, Frank Bobo, and Jimmy Bedford. Recently, the distillery’s also recognized that its founder Jasper Newton Daniel named a freed slave, Nathan Nearest Green, as his first master distiller.

As Master Distiller, Arnett was responsible for the overall whiskey-making operations in Lynchburg. Prior to that position, he oversaw quality control and the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel program. Throughout his time at the distillery, he worked in a variety of capacities including warehousing, maturation, distillation, charcoal mellowing management, barrel quality and bottling, and enjoyed a long tenure on the Master Tasters’ panel. He also traveled the world as a brand ambassador for the distillery.

“When Jeff became the master distiller, we said that he would carry on the long tradition of folks who have made the world’s best whiskey for more than 150 years, and that’s exactly what he’s done,” said Jack Daniel Distillery SVP and General Manager Larry Combs. “He has worked tirelessly on behalf of the distillery and brought with him the creativity and the expertise that makes Jack Daniel’s the most valuable whiskey brand in the world. We thank him for his leadership not only at Jack Daniel’s but in the whiskey industry and wish him all the best.”

According to a press release from the distillery, they will name Arnett’s replacement sometime in the next few weeks. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Tourism up and COVID counts down several weeks after Jack tours resume

According to numbers provided by both Jack Daniel’s and the Tennessee Department of Health, tourism number are up in Moore County since the Visitor’s Center resumed public tours while active COVID cases are trending down. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

LOCAL NEWS — Maybe it’s too soon to tell, but the re-opening of Jack Daniel’s Distillery to public tours doesn’t appear to be causing a local spike in COVID-19 numbers.

In early August, the distillery quietly resumed public tours at the Visitor’s Center and re-opened both the Hardware and General Store on the square and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant, though all three modified things a bit. Masks are required. Hand sanitizer is at the ready, and in order to encourage social distancing, the number of folks allowed in all three at one times has been greatly reduced.

So we wondered, what effect (if any) is this having on both local COVID numbers and the many local business that cater to tourism in Lynchburg.

Weekly COVID numbers trend down in Lynchburg

Despite the fact that Jack Daniel’s draws tourist from not only around the state but around the world, the weekly numbers reported by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) seem to be trending down. Just prior to the reopening, Moore County gained 17 new COVID cases for the week ending August 7. Since then, that number has been trending down. For the week ending August 14, there were 13 new cases, 11 new cases the following week, and just eight new case the final week in August.

As of Wednesday’s 2 p.m. COVID numbers provided by the TDH, there were just 36 active cases in Moore County — a decrease from the previous week.

Small businesses get bump but still struggle

We spoke to three historic district small businesses recently and all three reported seeing a small increase in foot traffic but numbers that were no where near 2019.

“Last year on this day, I was $500,000 in sales above my sales today,” one small business owner said. “The COVID situation has really impacted our businesses.”

Another local business manager said she’d noticed a slight difference but no major increase in foot traffic since tours resumed. In part, she attributed this to the fact that the Visitor’s Center stopped utilizing buses on tours as a COVID 19 precaution. This means the distillery is not currently dropping off tourists on the Lynchburg Square as the last part of its public tour.

“We’ve seen a slight increase,” she said. “But it hasn’t been huge.”

Another business owner estimated that her business was up by about 25 percent since tours resumed.

“We would love for things to be back to ‘normal’, but we are optimistic that things will get better,” she said.

Situation that’s constantly evolving and monitored

Distillery officials say the active case counts and trends are something they are monitoring weekly.

“In terms of the COVID numbers, we evaluate these on a weekly basis as well as being informed anytime there is a new case,” Jack Daniel’s senior leadership told us. “Our HR team is responsible for tracking and contact tracing. This team includes our onsite nurse who serves as point for this work. We have a Homeplace review every Friday and this is one of the factors considered. Ultimately, senior leadership will make the decision if we adjust any operations in response.”

Jack Daniel’s say they would not hesitate to shutdown public tours again if that’s what the data suggested was in the best interest of both the distillery and the community but at the moment the numbers seem to be trending down. When we asked them what impact (if any) resumption of tours had had on local COVID numbers, they responded with a confident, “none.”

“In terms of resumption of tours impacting COVID cases in Moore County, we are confident it is none,” distillery officials told us. “The daily cases have dropped considerably.”

Distillery officials say they believe the summer spike was completely driven by the summer vacation season.

This graphs provided by Jack Daniel’s Distillery shows that there has been no real spike in new COVID-19 cases in Moore County since the Visitor’s Center re-opened to public (if modified) public tours in early August. {Graphics Provided}

“Daily guest count continues to climb as COVID cases have dropped back to near zero as vacation season wrapped up.”

Officials say the next trend they’ll monitor will be the impact of return to school.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Even with social distance precautions, charm unchanged at Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant

Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant sits inside a historic Greek Revival home that originates back to a time before even the distillery existed. It’s dining with a slice of southern culture served with a side of local history.
Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant sits inside a historic Greek Revival home that originates back to a time before even the distillery existed. It’s dining with a slice of southern culture served with a side of local history. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

Written by Tabitha Evans Moore | Editor & Publisher

In ordinary times, lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant in Lynchburg isn’t just a meal … it’s a slice of southern culture served with a side of local history. Diners pass heaping platters of Lynchburg favorites around large tables, family-style, as local hostesses regale with tales about Jack Daniel, the Motlow family, and Miss Mary Bobo herself.

In March, the local restaurant closed it’s doors along with public tours at the distillery and the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Ever mindful of not only its local but also global interest, Jack Daniel’s parent company, Brown-Forman, decided to shut down the marketing side of the distillery while continuing to make whiskey in the hollow — but with a few extra precautions.

In July, Miss Mary Bobo’s re-opened but with some social distanced changes to make sure everyone – from its local staff to its guest from Lynchburg Tennessee, the U.S., and around world – stayed safe. You’ll get your temperature checked at the door. Masks are available for anyone that doesn’t already have one and hand sanitizer is at the ready. The long, family style tables are gone, replaced by smaller, antique tables and chair. Seating is a bit more limited, so you’ll probably want to make a reservation.

Today things are a little different … but just as charming.

A slice of local history

Miss Mary Bobo’s exists as one part restaurant and one part museum of Jack Daniel’s storied history in the community. Framed copies of Arnold Worldwide’s famous Postcard from Lynchburg ad campaign grace multiple walls along with historic photos. It’s one of the longest-running advertising campaigns in history featuring both local characters like Mayor Bonnie Lewis and famous faces like Frank Sinatra and Queen Victoria.

Even the restaurant itself is a slice of local history, as it existed well before Jack Daniel licensed his now famous distillery in the hollow in 1866. Originally built in 1820 around a natural spring that still exists on the property, the two story Greek Revival building possesses a certain unmistakable charm.

Miss Mary, her husband, and two children bought the home from the Salmon family in early 1900 and turned the unused bedrooms into rooms for rent. One of her most famous (and most frequent) boarders was Tom Motlow, Lem Motlow’s younger brother and the founder of Farmer’s Bank. He boarded at Miss Mary’s for more than 40 years until he died at the age of 96.

Miss Mary continued to host boarders until 1970 and continued to oversee the kitchen right up until her death in June 1983 just one month shy of her 102 birthday. Jack Daniel’s Distillery bought the house soon after and re-opened it as a public restaurant in May 1984.

Southern charm and social distancing

So what’s it’s like to eat at Miss Mary Bobo’s without storytellers at the head of each table. We decided to grab a reader, Jill Estfon, the winner of our Lunch with the Editor contest and find out.

For the time being, guests dine at smaller, more intimate tables spaced further apart. Instead of family-style presentation, one of Miss Mary’s scholarships students serves each table. If you aren’t familiar, the restaurant boasts a long history of supporting Moore County students. Each scholarship student is a MCHS graduate attending Motlow State Community College while Jack Daniel’s provides the work experience, books, and labs fees.

The service is friendly, attentive, and completely unobtrusive. Servers wear masks for guests protection. The tables, each adorned with fresh flowers grown by Miss Mary’s Bobo’s manager Debbie Baxter, still feel like Sunday morning.

During our visit, Jill and I were seated in the far left corner of the Evans Room. It didn’t take us long to strike up a conversation with Chris visiting from Salt Lake City across the room. It seems whether hostesses are seated at the head of the table or not the restaurant still inspires meeting and mingling … even at a distance.

“I love the pace and the ability to just sit and enjoy a meal,” he said.

A taste of Lynchburg

Though the menu changes often, crispy, southern-style fried chicken is often on it. Diners choose from a meat, and two or three sides. All meals come with bread and iced tea. {Photo Credit: Laura Zimbrick for Miss Mary Bobo’s}

Miss Mary’s menu changes frequently and features two meats, five sides to choose from, fresh-baked bread, and iced tea. Dessert is optional. All meals are created by a culinary team headed by Jack Daniel’s great great-grand nephew, Chris Dickey. Entrees include items like Boarding House Meatloaf, Southern Fried Chicken, Chicken Pastry, Fried Catfish, and Country-Style BBQ Ribs. On our visit, Jill enjoyed the meatloaf while I dug into the fried chicken.

“The meatloaf tastes super moist with a tangy, spicy bit of heat,” Jill said.

You can get a taste of our famous local product at the distillery. You can also get a southern-inspired taste at Miss Mary Bobo’s. The Lynchburg Candied Apples made with a touch a Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is a must if you want the full Lynchburg experience.

Other sides include seasoned greens, fried okra, broccoli rice casserole, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and, of course, every meal is served with a fresh-baked biscuit or cornbread.

Our Lunch with Editor winner, Jill Estfon, raved about Miss Mary Bobo’s fudge pie recipe. “This is on par with what my grandmother made,” she said. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

For dessert, Jill and I both enjoyed the Fudge Pie topped with homemade whipped cream.

“My grandmother set a high bar,” Jill said. “This fudge pie is on par with what my grandmother, Elizabeth Smith, used to make.”

Other featured desserts include chess, pecan, oatmeal, or buttermilk pies.

Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant is located just off the historic Lynchburg Square at 295 Main Street. Seatings are generally available every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday but reservations are highly recommended and can be made at 931-759-7394.

They also boast an impressive gift shop perfect for a little early Christmas shopping. For more information, check out their Facebook page or visit the Jack Daniel’s website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Jack Daniel’s Distillery resumes public tours

Modified public tours resumed at the distillery this week though Visitor Center staff say they are keeping a close eye on the active case counts. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

According to their website, tours resumed at Jack Daniel’s Distillery last week. All visitors are required to wear a mask and reservations are highly recommended.

On August 10, they announced that the Jack Daniel Visitor Center had reopened with modified tours and tastings. Those modification could include smaller tour size and not all areas of the distillery may be accessible. As such, the distillery recommends making reservations.

The onsite staff will constantly monitor the current active COVID-19 case count and stressed that changes to the accessibility of the Jack Daniel Distillery, Visitor Center, Lynchburg Hardware & General Store, Barrel Shop, and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant may change with little to no notice.

For more information, call the Visitors Center at 931-759-6357 or to book a reservation, visit their website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Jack Daniel’s, Eric Church collaborate on new limited-edition bottle

Each bottle of the new Eric Church Single Barrel Select gets a specially designed black and gold embossed label featuring Eric Church’s “Double Down” eagle. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

LYNCHBURG — As everyone in Moore County knows, all the best whiskey is made on the top floor of a local rickhouse. The swings in temperature – warmer in the summer and colder in the winters – create barrels with more complex tasting profiles and a little extra something that’s hard to define.

Last year, Jack Daniel Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher, country music star Eric Church, and a small group of friends met in the top floor of the Coy Hill warehouse with a special project in mind. As Arnett pulled samples from barrels he had a hunch about, Church considered each pour thoughtfully. The result is the new limited-edition Eric Church Single Barrel bottle.

According to Church, his grandfather inspired his love of Old No. 7 but what started with a fondness for the charcoal-mellowed Tennessee whiskey soon evolved into a love of the spirit of Lynchburg.

“My love for Jack Daniel’s is for the whiskey but it’s also about a can-do, small town attitude, where community, loyalty and hard work are the qualities the crafters of this American icon hang their hats,” said Eric Church.

Independent spirit in a glass

Had they lived at the same time and in the same place, Jasper Newton Daniel and Eric Church would have likely been friends. Both exude southern grit: honesty, realness, a passion for their path, and fierce independence.

At 94 proof, the new bottle’s a perfect sipping whiskey. It boasts aromas of vanilla and caramel with that signature charred oak heat. Like most barrels pulled from the top floor, the whiskey is complex and full.

“This special whiskey is reflective of Eric himself – bold, rich in character, forward and something that can be enjoyed by those with a taste for a well-rounded whiskey and a unique and memorable sipping experience,” Master Distiller Jeff Arnett added.

Jack Daniel’s Eric Church Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey is now available in southern, middle Tennessee liquor stores as well as the White Rabbit Bottle Shop inside the Jack Daniel’s Distillery Visitor’s Center. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Jack Daniel hosts virtual music festival to benefit musicians affected by COVID-19

Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard (left), singer, songwiter Nathaniel Rateliff (top right), and California indie band Cold War Kids (bottom right) will headline Jack Daniel’s Distillery virtual music festival this Friday and Saturday to support musicians affected by COVID-19. {Photos Provided}

Our local product and live music have a storied history together. From Frank Sinatra’s professed love of Old No. 7 to the recent release of the limited edition Eric Church Single Barrel Bottle … where you find great music, you’ll usually find a bottle of Jack.

Live musicians like the ones we flock to see on Lower Broadway or at Bonnaroo … well, they are struggling. Festival cancellations and music venue closings have upended their livelihoods.

Enter Jack Daniel’s Distillery … together with Crash the Couch, they are raising funds for the Sweet Relief COVID-19 Musicians Fund. On this coming Friday and Saturday (August 14 and 15), Brittany Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Cold War Kids will headline the two-day, online festival on Jack Daniel’s YouTube channel.

Denver-based singer, songwriter Rateliff and California indie rock band the Cold War Kids will headline Friday night along with opening acts like Tank and the Bangas, Hiss Golden Messenger, the Suffers, and Goldlink. Alabama Shakes lead vocalist Brittany Howard will headline night two along with Black Pumas, Brandy Clark, Houndmouth, Durand Jones, and Yola. All performances will be filmed from the artist’s homes all around the country. There performance will be interspersed with live cocktail demonstrations.

So login, make a donation, and raise a glass. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned, community newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}