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Jack expands Visitors’ Center tasting rooms

an artist rendering of the new tasting rooms at the Jack Daniel Distillery
This artist rendering shows the floor-to-ceiling windows of the new space, allowing guests to get a 360 degree view of the distillery. Construction is slated to complete in May 2024. (Image courtesy of The Jack Daniel Distillery)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It’s Wednesday afternoon as Jack Daniel’s Distillery Homeplace Director Erik Brown walks us through the George Green Barrel House as an Angel’s Share Tasting Tour is happening to our right. As we look on, the guide talks about Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel whiskey, and how it’s the whiskey that benefits most from the Angel’s Share – or the whiskey lost due to evaporation during the aging process. It’s an immersive experience that Brown wants to replicate as six new tasting rooms come online next year.

It’s a move Brown says he’s been working on since he arrived in Lynchburg in March 2022. {To read our 2022 interview with Brown, follow this link.} He says the first time he visited The Holler as the soon-to-be Lynchburg Homeplace Director, he knew one of the goals of his new position would be to build more tasting rooms.

“We’re very focused on answering the question: how can we give our Jack lovers more,” Brown says. “We always want to give them something new to experience each time they visit.”

Innovation requires innovation

It’s no secret that innovation has become the buzzword since Chris Fletcher took over as Master Distiller back in October 2020. Age-stated whiskey, the Bottled-in-Bond series, and nearly a half dozen other new offerings have been introduced under his watch. The distillery’s recently gone far beyond Jack Black Label and with new whiskey innovations coming out of the pipeline every couple months, Brown says the purpose of the expansion is more about offering more choice.

“Last year Whisky Advocate named Jack Daniel’s Bonded as the World’s Best Whiskey. For someone to come here and not get a chance to taste that whiskey, just makes no sense.”

Since tasting tours became a thing at the distillery back in 2011, they’ve become very popular. Nearly 75 percent of the folks who come to Lynchburg to tour the distillery now sign up for one of the two currently being offered, according to Brown. Guests currently have three options: the non-tasting Dry County Tour, or the Flight of Jack or Angel’s Share tasting tours. Brown and his staff recently added a specialty Bonded Tour that also sells out quickly.

Brown admits that the wait time for the next tour can sometimes be longer than he’s like. The expansion will not only allow them to create new experiences, but it also reduces the wait time as well as the tour size of the existing tours.

“We’re very customer-focused here and always asking ourselves what we can do better,” Brown says. “Expanding the tasting rooms is not about trying to get to 500,000 visitors a year. It’s not necessarily about growth. It’s about making the experience of those who are already coming, the best that it can possibly be. We want to expand on the storytelling without making the guests feel rushed.”

Brown and distillery officials began brainstorming the project over 18 months ago. The new tasting rooms will sit directly behind the Motlow House in a separate building with a walkway connecting the two. Another small pathway will connect the new tasting rooms to the George Green Barrel House. The artist renderings of the building boast large floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to feel inside and outside at the same time.

“One of the things I love most about it, is that it will allow those tasting in the new rooms to appreciate the full 360 view of the distillery. They can see the creek. They can see the barrel trucks driving up and down,” Brown says. “But we want the Motlow House to be the first thing people notice when driving past.”

Brown says once the new rooms get completed tasting tours will constantly evolve and he’d like to offer both seasonal tours as well as dinners or paired tastings in the new space as well.

Protecting the Welcome to Lynchburg factor

Brown says construction will begin soon near the Motlow House, and like all construction zones, it will be messy. That’s why distillery officials created a new, temporary perimeter fence around the project footprint last week.

“We built the wall to keep those experiencing Lynchburg for the first from being forced to look at a construction zone. We are trying to protect the Welcome to Lynchburg factor,” he says.

Construction traffic will also flow near a fence opening between the Motlow House and the Majors Boulevard security checkpoint at the distillery to help avoid traffic congestion and keep visitors as far away from the site as possible for safety purposes. There will be no reduction of parking at the Visitors’ Center during the project and traffic will flow normally.

For more information about the tasting tours currently being offered at the distillery, follow this link. •

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We also provide news and information for the 350,000 folks who come to Lynchburg to visit The Jack Daniel’s Distillery each year. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. You can support us, by clicking here.}

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