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.}

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.}

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.}

Dickey earns title of both dad and real life hero

Local father of two (pictured here with his wife, Debra, and two sons, Max and Macon) is a hero to more than a few kids in both Lynchburg and beyond. {Photo Provided}

Webster’s dictionary defines hero as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities and according to our sources, at least one local dad fits this description to a tee. He’s a hero at home, in the classroom, and even while on vacation.

Many people know Lynchburg native and father of two, Dusty Dickey, as different things. To some, he is a dedicated fourth grader science teacher who brings adventure into his classroom every day. To others, he’s the life-of-the-party DJ who often donates his time and disc jockeying skills to non-profit events like Halloween in the Hollow. To others, he’s the aw shucks seasonal distillery tour guide with a lineage that connects directly to Jack himself. But on a recent family vacation to Broken Bow, Oklahoma with wife, Debra, and two sons, Macon and Max, Dusty earned the title of modern days hero.

“We were floating on the Mountain Fork River,” Debra says. “Just enjoying a family day on the river when we suddenly heard kids screaming in the distance.”

Debra says at first, all four of them assumed the kids were just enjoying their day on the water too … then they noticed the look of panicked fear in their eyes and Dusty jumped into action.

“He didn’t hesitate,” Debra says. “He jumped right in. When he reached the boys, they clung to him for safety.”

With a little patience and encouragement from the banks by Debra, Macon, and Max, the trio slowly edged down river until they found a safe spot to climb back onto the shore. Apparently, the boys had been playing up stream when the current dragged them under the bridge and towards the rapids. Luckily, they were both wearing life jackets.

“I was so proud of my family for jumping in a helping,” Debra said. “Dusty truly saved those boys.”

Hero in the classroom as well

Though Dusty can spin a good yarn on a Jack Daniel’s tour, the river rescue isn’t a story he’d likely repeat. Known as an outgoing, big personality, he’s not much for tooting his own horn. That’s okay, there are lots of others willing to do that for him, like Holly Burton, the mother of a special needs student at Lynchburg Elementary.

Her son, Avery, who suffered a stroke In utero, learns in the special needs classroom of Debra at LES. Dusty makes a point to show Avery at every opportunity that he is “differently-abled” not disabled, Holly says.

“When he made soup in the classroom, he let Avery pour the veggies from the can. When they planted peas, he let Avery get his hands dirty and feel like all the rest of the kids and have fun,” Burton says. “He’s made a difference in Avery’s school life and there’s not a day Mr. Dusty isn’t mentioned at our house.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced local schools to shutter, not only did Dickey post weekly science experiments on his Facebook page, he also called Avery everyday to check in on him.

When we asked Dusty’s sons recently to describe their dad … they both used the term hero. Macon, who is a rising fourth grader, really hopes he gets to be in his dad’s home room this upcoming year.

“Not because he’s my dad,” he says. “But because science is my favorite subject and I’d like to start my day with him.”

Max’s favorite thing about his dad is the fact that he’s always planning adventures and playing with them just like a big kid.

“He plays corn hole with us and we go fishing. When my favorite song comes on, he always turns it up loud so we can sing … stuff like that.” •

{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.}

Nearest Green and Jack Daniel distilleries announce diversity partnership

In this historic photo, Nathan “Nearest” Green’s son, George, sits next to Jack Daniel at the Lynchburg Distillery. The two companies have partnered to ensure diversity in American whiskey making moving forward. {Historic Photo}

In an unprecedented move, two famous distilleries with Lynchburg roots have joined forces to increase diversity in the American whiskey industry. In a press release on Thursday, the two Tennessee distilleries announced the formation of the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative.

Both companies will support it equally with an initial $5 million combined pledge to launch the Nearest Green School of Distilling, develop the Leadership Acceleration Program (LAP) for apprenticeships and establish the Business Incubation Program (BIP), focused on providing expertise and resources to African Americans entering the spirits industry as entrepreneurs. This joint initiative will be guided by an advisory board with members from both organizations. 

Motlow State College worked with leaders from both companies for the past year to develop a curriculum for the Nearest Green School of Distilling. The STEM based and employable skills focused program has passed Motlow State requirements and is now awaiting approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to begin moving toward accreditation by the institutions accrediting body SACSCOC. The certificate program may be offered as early as Fall 2021.

The program will offer apprenticeships specifically to African Americans already in the whiskey industry, who are wanting to become a head distiller, head of maturation or production manager. The inaugural apprentices have already been identified and will begin shadowing at top distilleries throughout the country. 

The Initiative will also work as an incubation program for African American entrepreneurs and offer mentorship in all areas of the distilling business, including access to top marketing firms, branding executives, expanded distribution networks and other assets and opportunities to grow their spirits businesses.

“Generally, when companies talk about the need to improve diversity, few immediate action steps follow,” said Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey CEO Fawn Weaver.

“Our group is different. We are doers, and we all agreed to work together to improve diversity in our industry, and specifically, a way to get African Americans into top positions within our industry. Nearest Green taught Jack Daniel how to make Tennessee whiskey and we’re incredibly proud our companies are joining forces to further their legacies of excellence, and to make distilling and the whiskey industry we love more diverse.”

It’s a sentiment that Brown-Forman officials echoed.

“Given our deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, I am thrilled we are coming together in this way today,” said Brown-Forman President and CEO Lawson Whiting. The Brown-Forman Corporation is the parent company of Jack Daniel’s.

“This collaboration allows the extraordinary friendship of Nearest and Jack, and the hope they embodied during racially divided times in our country’s history, to help us advance the next generation of African American leaders in our industry.”

For more information, check out the Initiative website by clicking here. •

{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 introduces cocktails in a can

{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!}

Jack Daniel’s newest offering canned cocktails sit on a hill overlooking Moore County. They became available on June 1 in select markets. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel}

LYNCHBURG — It’s summer and time to head out to Tims Ford Lake or barbecue with close friends. Lots of Lynchburg folks like to imbibe a little local product every now and then. Jack Daniel’s Distillery’s newest offering, Jack Daniel’s Canned Cocktail, makes that convenient and easy.

They come in handcrafted cocktail varieties like Jack and Selzter, Jack and Cola, and Jack, Honey, and Lemonade. According to the distillery, each cocktail is made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, perfectly mixed and ready to enjoy in convenient packaging. Jack and Cola and Jack, Honey and Lemonade are seven percent ABV, and Jack and Seltzer is five percent ABV with 0 carbs and 97 calories.

“We are always listening to our friends, and these new canned cocktails will be a convenient and refreshing way for them to enjoy our Tennessee Whiskey with a selection of wonderful flavors,” said Jack Daniel’s Flavors Brand Director Lisa Hunter. “Each drink is perfectly balanced to highlight the flavors of our charcoal-mellowed whiskey in a drinkable and convenient format. This is real Jack and it’s ready to go.”

They were released to only select states … including Tennessee, of course … on June 1. For more information, visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery 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.}

Music Fest headliner Kip Moore plays Jack Daniel virtual concert on Friday

Kip Moore will play a virtual concert sponsored by Jack Daniel on Friday. He’ll also headline on October 2 at this year’s Lynchburg Music Fest. {Artwork Provided}

Get ready for a preview of this year’s Lynchburg Music Fest on Friday when Nashville country artist Kip Moore performs a virtual concert sponsored by Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Moore will perform songs from his latest album, Wild World.

The creative folks at the distillery launched the multi-genre live stream concert series to raise money for Sweet Relief Musicians COVID-19 Fund. It provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers including immediate assistance with medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses to those impacted due to sickness or loss of work. You can make a donation by clicking here.

Moore landed early on the Bro Country scene singing songs about trucks, beers, and small town Friday nights. So, it’s fitting that he’ll headline the most famous small town in America on Friday, October 2 during the second annual Lynchburg Music Fest.

Born in Tifton, Georgia, Moore began his music career during his college days a Wallace State Community College before moving to Nashville in 2004 where he met songwriter and producer Brett James. James – who wrote Carrie Underwood’s famous Jesus Take the Wheel – took an interest in Moore and helped him sign a publishing deal.

Moore’s well know for his chart-topping single, Something Bout a Truck, which hit number one on the Billboard country charts. He followed that song with success like Hey Pretty Girl and Beer Money. Last August, he released an anticipated single, She’s Mine, the first song from a much anticipated upcoming album. 

To watch, tune in to Kip Moore’s Facebook or Instagram page beginning at 6 p.m. (CST). •

{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.}

Essential: Jack Daniel Lead Lexie Amacher

{Editor’s Note: This is the eighth of a multi-part series highlighting all the essential folks in Moore County. Readers nominated each interview subject. To nominate someone, email editor@lynchburg-times.com.}

“Since 1866, we’ve never done anything like this,” says Lexie Amacher of Jack Daniel’s, referring to the pivot from making whiskey to hand sanitizer. {Photo Provided}

“Since 1866, we’ve never done anything like this,” says Jack Daniel’s Lead Lexie Amacher. We caught up with her recently to talk about the transition from Jack employee to essential employee during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She’s one of dozens of employees who usually oversee the day-to-day tasks of making our local product that gets shipped all over the globe from the tiny town of Lynchburg. Today, her mission is much closer to home.

Mid-March, Jack Daniel’s and their parent company, Brown-Forman, decided to shut down public tours here in Lynchburg due to COVID-19. Soon after, the research and development department in Louisville, along with the production staff here in Lynchburg, got busy pivoting from whiskey to another type of alcohol … namely the high-proof variety that gets used to make hand sanitizer.

It’s a quick change that came with the some unique hurdles.

“The very few times we’ve ever tried a new recipe it’s always come with its own obstacles,” she says. “We do a pilot run in the lab, but you never really know what it’s really gonna be like until we do it on a large scale.”

The high-proof ethyl alcohol the distillery now produces gets mixed with glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients into a CDC and WHO approved formula meant to be sprayed on surfaces and allowed to air dry. At first, the distillery’s goal was just to produce small batches for employees and local front line workers. It wasn’t long until they realized the demand would quickly outpace that supply. Today, Amacher says the distillery has partnered with two other companies to put out over two million gallons of the stuff a month … and counting.

Amacher says day-to-day the steps in making whiskey and making neutral, distilled alcohol aren’t that different but it’s the social distancing that makes it unique. Like every other essential business, distillery employees clean multiple times a shift, wear face masks, and work further apart than usual. In the end, Amacher says her goal and the goal of every distillery and Brown-Forman employee is to just keep each other safe.

When she’s not busy at the distillery, Amacher says she and her fiancé, Josh Phillips, who works in Single Barrel production, stay busy with projects just like the rest of us. They’ve given the landscaping an upgrade and refinished the kitchen cabinets.

“We’ve also done lots of spring cleaning,” she jokes.

When we asked her what she’s misses most about “normal” life, she’s quick to answer.

“I really just miss people … my friends and my family. Talking on the phone is one thing but not getting to see anyone for long periods is just not what we’re used to … you really take it for granted until it’s gone.” •

{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.}

Essential: The seamstresses of Moore County

{Editor’s Note: This is the seventh of a multi-part series highlighting all the essential folks in Moore County. Readers nominated each interview subject. To nominate someone, email editor@lynchburg-times.com.}

Jack Daniel’s Steve May and local seamstress Lisa Swift discuss plans to make temporary masks for the distillery’s production staff. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

Lynchburg Homeplace Director Steve May sits on the Lynchburg Square in his shiny black pick up … waiting on an important meeting. He’s got a box filled with bandanas, coffee filters, shoe strings, and other materials. His mission: to enlist an army of Moore County seamstresses to fashion handmade masks for the 650 employees of Jack Daniel’s Distillery.

“Each seamstress, on a good day, can make 10-20 masks,” he says. “So I’m looking for all the help I can get.”

A few minutes later, Diamon Gussett Manager Lisa Swift arrives. She’s traveled from her hometown of Petersburg to enlist. They discuss design options, materials, and a timeline and then she’s off. A few days later, May reports that he’s found nearly 20 local seamstresses to help with his mission.

“They are a huge asset to our community,” May says. “We are very fortunate to have these unsung heroes among us.”

It’s a sentiment Jack Daniel’s representative Svend Jansen echoes.

“We made the decision very early on to close all of our visitor experiences at Jack Daniel’s. At the same time, we’ve worked extremely hard to keep our employees safe while also being able to make our Tennessee whiskey. As the demand for face masks increased, our team came up with an innovative way to create temporary masks for our production employees out of Jack Daniel’s bandanas until we are able to secure more permanent sewn masks.” 

Around the corner, Barbara Hills of Honey Bunny Mercantile is also making masks as fast as she can. She’s delivering her masks to the distillery and letting officials there distribute them wherever there is the most need. She also says she’s making masks and shipping them to family members in New Jersey, which has the second highest rate of infections in the U.S.

“I feel that by making the masks, we’re helping to stop the spread of this virus,” Hills says. “It is the only way to do it besides staying at home.”

Moore County masks of love

Across town, Moore County local Norma Stone sit busy at her sewing machine. On a normal day, you might find her at the Lynchburg Ladies Handiworks Store on the historic Lynchburg Square. Today, she’s making as many masks as she can to hand out to area first responders and medical professionals like her granddaughter Stonie Read, who recently graduated from nursing school at Martin College. She’s also been making masks for other essential folks, like the cashiers at Woodard’s Market and the Dollar Store. At press time, she’d made nearly 250 masks.

“I wanted to help people,” Stone says. “And give people who had to be out some protection.”

Stone is one of several local seamstresses working together through the Moore County Family Consumer Science (FCE) Club’s Masks of Love project – organized through the UT Extension office. Club members, local 4-H students, and volunteers have worked day and night recently to provide 780 masks to folks in Moore County. The team of seamstresses includes including Stone, Valerie McKenny, Linda Wolaver, Rita Watkins, and Sara Hope.

Staff at Woodard’s Market show off there protective masks made by the seamstresses of Moore County through the FCE Masks of Love project. {Photo Provided}

“They have put in countless hours,” says UT Extension’s Brenda Hannah. “They deserve the highest honor for having a gift that can be used for our county for a time of need.”

If you or your organization needs masks, contact Hannah at the UT Extension office at 931-759-7163 or through their Facebook page. •

{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.}

Local small businesses encouraged to apply for Economic Disaster Loans

On Saturday morning, the front gate to the Jack Daniel’s Visitors Center remained locked and the usually bustling parking lot looked completely empty. Temporary closings at the distillery are affecting small businesses in Lynchburg. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

STATE NEWS — As cases in the state continue to increase daily, the Jack Daniel Visitors Center still has no idea when they’ll be able to lift the temporary shut down of public tours and re-open the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant. Without them, the steady stream of over 300,000 guest to our charming, little hamlet have slowed to a drip and many local business are feeling the crunch.

On Thursday, Governor Bill Lee announced that Tennessee received a declaration for Economic Injury Disaster, which gives Lynchburg small businesses the green light to apply for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to help with losses from the COVID-19 situation.

“I applaud the efforts of the SBA in swiftly processing and approving Tennessee’s request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance,” Lee said. “Small businesses and nonprofits across the state are suffering greatly in the wake of this pandemic, and these loans will help overcome the temporary loss of revenue companies are experiencing during this difficult time.”

The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable or other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact. Interest rates for the loans are 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations.

To apply online, visit the Disaster Assistance page on the U.S. Small Business Administration website, click here for a link. Lynchburg small businesses may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. •

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.}