Popular Jack Daniel’s Countdown Calendar returns

The oh-so-popular Holidays Countdown Calendar is back for 2020 and can be purchased locally at the White Rabbit Bottle Shop. (Photo Credit: Jack Daniel Distillery)

LYNCHBURG — Everybody’s looking for an opportunity to buy local this holiday season and living in Lynchburg – home of Jack Daniel’s Distillery – comes with some perks. You can share the holiday spirit and a taste of Lynchburg with the 2020 Holiday Countdown Calendar. The annual calendar, which first launched in 2018, is available for purchase at the White Rabbit Bottle Shop inside the Jack Daniel’s Visitor’s Center. It’s only available in select U.S. and global markets.

The limited-edition calendar features 24 windows designed to reveal a special Jack Daniel’s item on each day leading up the December holidays, making it a perfect gift for whiskey lovers or the centerpiece of a new seasonal tradition. “Surprise” products featured in this year’s calendar include four 50ml bottles each of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, three bottles each of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, and two bottles each of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye, Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select. The calendar will also contain premium items, including four shot glasses with various logos from the Jack Daniel’s family of brands.

“We launched our Holiday Countdown Calendar three years ago to give friends of Jack Daniel’s a fun way to come together and celebrate the season,” said Jack Daniel’s Global Brand Director Matt Blevin. “We’re excited to feature a brand new selection of bottles and gift items this year, making it our best and most exclusive calendar yet.” •

{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 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.}

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.}

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.}

Dickel releases Bottled in Bond 2.0

{Editor’s Note: Since we are the unofficial whiskey capital of the South, each #WhiskeyWednesday we bring you headlines from not only Jack Daniel Distillery but also other distilleries in both southern, middle Tennessee and around the state. Cheers!}

George Dickel Master Distiller Nicole Austin handpicked both sets of barrels used for her Bottled in Bond iteration. The new release recently hit liquor stores and is selling fast. {Photo Courtesy of George Dickel}

TULLAHOMA — Cascade Hollow is a magical place. Moderate temps 365 days a year lead to a slow, steady mellowing process that ages their George Dickel whiskey just right.

Last year, George Dickel Master Distiller Nicole Austin explored their local rickhouses looking for forgotten treasure and hit pay dirt. She happened upon a long-forgotten batch of 13-year-old stock, all distilled in a single season. This just happens to be the very same requirement of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. Once she tasted these 2005 barrels, the whiskey immediately stood out. The folks at Whisky Advocate Magazine seem to agree. George Dickel’s first Bottled in Bond was number one on the 2019 Top 20 Whiskies of the Year.

Now, Austin’s at it again with a second Bottled in Bond that consumers are snapping off the shelves. This time, it’s an 11 year old whiskey that’s 84 percent corn, eight percent rye and eight percent malt. It’s a bit younger than the first Bottled in Bond but identical in meeting the strict definition of a bottled in bond whiskey: 100 percent pure whiskey produced at a single distillery during one distilling session that at least four years old and 100 proof.

This iteration pours dark honey colored and enjoys notes of pecan and apple and a distinct nuttiness. It’s warm but with very little bite. In fact, served neat with a single ice cube brings out the maple, caramel, and oak.

And at it’s $40 price point, it’s a heck of a southern, middle Tennessee whiskey buy … if you can find it. To learn more, visit the George Dickel website by clicking here. •

{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, 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.}