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.}

Distillery postpones spring Wyooter hunt

LOCAL NEWS — Earlier in the week, Jack Daniel’s announced that along with closing the distillery to public tours as well as the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant that they’d be postponing the annual spring Wyooter Hunt – a private event for Tennessee Squires.

It all started way back in May 1865. That’s when the first Wyooter – a large hairy beast that’s one part Big Foot and one part Boogie Man – was first spotted in the hills of Lynchburg near the cave spring at Jack. Facts are scarce and legends aplenty when it comes to the Wyooter. Some say he’s a ghost … others a Sasquatch.

Either way, let all raise a glass to “social distancing” and enjoy a Wyooter Hooter. That’s one part local product, four parts ginger ale, and a splash of grenadine for the uninitiated. And be on the lookout for migrating varmints in your neck of the woods. •

{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 suspends tours temporarily in response to COVID-19

Brown-Forman will suspend tours at Jack Daniel’s Distillery beginning on Monday, March 16. Miss Mary Bobo’s and the Lynchburg Hardware Store will also close temporarily. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Beginning on Monday, March 16, Brown-Forman will suspend all tours at Jack Daniel’s Distillery as well as close Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant and the Lynchburg Hardware & General Store temporarily in response to the conronavirus outbreak in the state. As of Thursday, there were 18 confirmed cases in Tennessee.

The Distillery will continue to operate as normal.

“Our goal is to minimize the risk to employees and guests and help lower the probability of the spread of the virus to our employees, their families and the community,” they said in a press release Thursday afternoon.

“Existing tour reservations that occur before March 16 will be honored. This closure will remain in place until the health emergency subsides. All tickets previously purchased during this time are refundable. We appreciate the understanding of all those who are impacted and encourage all to put their health and safety first.” •

{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.}

Distillery donates $100K to tornado relief

STATE NEWS — The legacy of Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel Distillery and Nashville have always been intertwined. Country music and Tennessee whiskey are our state’s favorite power couple. Eric Church famously pours a shot of Single Barrel for his crew during his concerts. And Nashville artists from Miranda Lambert to George Jones have crooned about our local product.

So, when a devastating tornado swept through downtown Nashville early Tuesday morning it’s didn’t take the Distillery long to step up and lend a hand.

By Tuesday afternoon, Jack Daniel’s Distillery announced via social media that it would donate $100,000 to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund managed by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The fund will assist with those affected by the recent tornadoes in Nashville as well as the smaller surrounding towns in Putnam, Wilson, and Benton counties.

“We at Jack Daniel’s are heartbroken over the storms that hit the Nashville area last night,” the brand stated via social media. “In an effort to help, Jack Daniel’s is donating $100,000 to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.”

If you’d like to contribute as well, you can do so through The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee website.

In additional to the Jack Daniel monetary donation, members of the Metro Moore County Volunteer Fire Department were headed to Cookeville on Wednesday to assist with clean up efforts. Also Moore County Schools Coordinated School Health were collecting donations to deliver to people affected in the Cookeville area. •

{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 Honey makes $15K donation to National Museum of African American Music

Pictured is an artist rendering of the new National Museum of African American Music schedule to open in Nashville this summer. Jack Daniel Distillery recently contributed to the project. {Art Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Bristol birthed country music. Memphis is the home of the blues. Now Nashville will be home to the only museum dedicated to preserving the legacy and celebrating the unique accomplishments of black musicians and their influences across all genres and folks in Lynchburg can take pride in one of its “benevolent sponsors.”

Jack Daniel’s Honey recently made a $15,000 contribution to the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM).

Scheduled to open this summer in downtown Nashville, the NMAAM will be a 56,000 square foot facility dedicated to telling the unique story of the influence black musicians have had across all genres of music. To take a virtual tour of the museum, click here.

Exhibits will explore the timeline of African American music; as well as the stories behind black gospel, the Blues, jazz, and R&B. The Message exhibit explores the story of Hip-Hop music in post-Civil Rights Movement America. There’s also an extensive onsite research library and multipurpose rooms that can be used as classrooms or meeting spaces.

According to a press release, the donation is an extension of Jack Daniel’s Distillery’s partnership with Cult Creative’s Art, Beats and Lyrics (AB+L) program. It celebrates artwork from nationally and internationally known visual artists who span a variety of styles and genres. Throughout the years, the “museum meets concert” experience has showcased innovators and creatives from both the art and music worlds.

“For 15 years AB+L has been a platform dedicated to celebrating culture through music and visual art,” says Keenan Harris, Senior Multicultural Marketing Manager, Brown-Forman. “Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey is excited to expand the celebration of AB+L to support the anticipated grand opening of the National Museum of African American Music.” •

{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.}

Motlow hosts Emerald and Gold Gala on March 7

The Motlow College Foundation will host the 28th annual Motlow Gala on Saturday, March 7, at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center. The event raises funds for financial assistance to Motlow students. Jack Daniel Distillery sponsors the event and has several employees who are Motlow Alumni. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Come support Motlow College’s mission to give every southern, middle Tennessee student the tools they need for a successful future at the Emerald and Gold Gala on March 7. It’s the annual fund-raising event for the Motlow College Foundation, which provides financial assistance to students.

“Through this annual event, our biggest fundraiser, we are raising money to help Motlow students with educational expenses,” said Lane Yoder, Foundation executive director. “Even with tuition-free learning provided by Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, many of our students still need anywhere from moderate-to-significant financial assistance to be successful. For example, we spend thousands of dollars every semester helping students purchase their required books.” 

The event kicks off on March 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center with a champagne social hour. Attendees can make bids of silent auction items and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s event celebrates the college’s 50th year and it’s sponsored by Jack Daniel Distillery. Nashville-based band, Burning Las Vegas, will provide live music and dancing will begin at 8:15 p.m.

Tickets to the Gala are $125 per person and the deadline to purchase them will be March 2. Tickets can be purchased online at mscc.edu/gala2020 or by calling the Motlow College Foundation office at 931-393-1543. •

{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.}

Buddy the Beagle gets his own Facebook page

Some folks have a town dog. Lynchburg has it’s own distillery dog and now Buddy the Beagle has his own social media page. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — For Jack Daniel’s hardest working canine, life can be exhausting. From sneaking treats from local tour guides to free belly rubs from any of the 300,000 visitors who come through Lynchburg each year … Buddy’s work is rarely done.

Those of you who know and love Buddy the Beagle can now follow him on his very own Facebook page. Click here for a link. The page is run by Jack employee Alison Goodwin Hartung.

On it, you can chronicle his adventures from greeting tourists, taking golf cart rides with tour guides, overseeing the landscaping crew, or taking selfies with locals. He’s also been known to get rides home in the evening from Jack Daniel security. He’s even been known to be featured regularly in this newspaper. Everybody loves Buddy. So go on over and give his page a like. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated 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.}

Jack Daniel gets famous first tonight during Super Bowl

Jack Daniel’s “Our Responsibility” ad marks the first time the distillery’s run an in-game advertising spot during the Super Bowl. {Photo Courtesy of Brown-Forman)

Sunday night’s Super Bowl is full of firsts.

It’s the first time the Kansas City Chief’s and San Francisco 49ers have ever faced off in a Super Bowl. Kyle and Mike Shanahan will become the first father-son duo in NFL history to appear in a Super Bowl as head coaches … the younger with the 49ers and the elder with the Denver Broncos. It also marks the first time in the history of the brand that Jack Daniel will air an in-game Super Bowl commercial.

The spot entitled “Our Responsibilities” features lots of local faces and tells the story of the various “responsibilities” at the distillery from whiskey taster to warehousing to Jack Daniel’s Fire Brigade to tour guide … and even the local dog. To view the 30-second commercial, click here.

It’s a little known fact that the National Football League banned liquor advertising during it’s broadcasts until as recently as 2017. This year’s spots are going for an estimated $5 million per 30-second spot.

It’s a logical fit for our local product as they already supports the NBA, MLB, and NHL with national advertising dollars. Arnold Worldwide created the spot and it’s paired with Uber discount codes on social media and in select bars to encourage “drinking responsibly.” According to officials, the ad will air in nine markets including Nashville, so keep your eyes pealed. Cheers y’all. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated 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.}

Council member asks for legal “blank check” to revisit barrel tax issue

In November 2011, the Metro Council decided by a 10-5 vote. Back then, the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce unanimously opposed the proposal. In April 2018, the General Assembly decided by a 78-12 vote. But on Monday night, Metro Council member Tommy Brown asked his fellow council members to a approve a legal “blank check” to get clarification on the “constitutionality” of the Moore County Barrel Tax issue.

Brown asked Chairman Denning Harder to add the item into old business just before the January meeting. As such, no information about the issue could be added to the informational packets that each member receives prior to each meeting.

Brown asked for a motion empowering Property Tax Assessor Darrin Harrison to pursue a “administrative or judicial review” of the 2018 decision … using public funds to do so. Brown said he was asking the Council to revisit the long-decided issue due to a new opinion by Murfreesboro Administrative Judge Mark Aaron in September 2019.

“I think we owe it to the the people of this county,” Brown stated.

The Lynchburg Times acquired a copy of that legal opinion. In it, Judge Aaron states that “the administrative judge is earnestly unable to see the assessor’s argument as anything short of a claim that the recent amendment is facially invalid due to constitutional infirmity” … meaning he declines to make a ruling on the constitutional questions surrounding the state legislature’s approved whiskey barrel tax exemption. He further state that he’s “highly skeptical of his authority to usurp the Legislature’s clear directive.”

In Brown’s motion to the Council, he asked that they green light public funds to pursue an administrative or judicial review of the case. He received considerable push back. Mayor Bonnie Lewis cautioned that a legal “blank check” could result in a large, unintended line item.

“I can’t see it costing much,” Brown retorted.

Fellow Metro Council member Amy Cashion stated her unwillingness to vote on Brown’s motion out of the blue. “All of this was decided a long time ago,” she stated. “I’d need to refresh my memory before I felt comfortable voting.”

It’s a sentiment several other members also addressed. Several asked Brown to table his motion until the February meeting to give members time to review the facts … an idea Brown rebuffed.

“It was decided in September,” he replied. “You’ve had time.”

Instead he asked for a roll call vote in the matter. Yes votes were Adams, Millsaps, Brown, and Hawkins. No votes were Moses, Lewis, Burnett, Boyce, Harder, Cashion, Lindsay, Bailey, Moorehead, and Taylor. The motion failed 4-10. Arvis Bobo did not attend the meeting.

Judge Aaron’s appeal ruling took place on September 13, 2019. According to the document, interested parties had 75 days to file any further appeals. That deadline expired in late November.•

{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.}

Frank Bobo, distillery’s fifth master distiller, dies at 90

publicity of Frank Bobo during his time as Jack Daniel Master Distiller
Frank Bobo in a publicity shot during his time as Jack Daniel Master Distiller, a role he held from 1966-89. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel.}

Lynchburg native Frank Thomas Bobo, age 90, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, following a brief hospital stay. To folks around the world, he’s known as the fifth Master Distiller of Lynchburg’s famed Jack Daniel’s Distillery. To locals, he’ll be remembered as “Frog” Bobo, a true southern gentleman, a veteran, Raider fan, and a man with a deep and abiding love for his beloved, Avalee.

He was born in Lynchburg on June 2, 1929 to the late Roy Holt Bobo and Marie Hobbs Bobo. Before his days at the distillery, he could often be found on the Lynchburg Square at Bobo’s Market, his family’s community grocery store. But in 1966, Reagor Motlow – Jack Daniel’s grand nephew – the man who famously gave Frank a nickel every time he saw him, also offered him a job in the still house at Jack Daniel’s. It’s a position that eventually led to him being named Master Distiller in 1966.

Frank Bobo oversaw whiskey-making during a time of rapid growth in the Holler. During his tenure, the distillery went from operating just two stills to five. Through it all, Bobo diligently stuck to the Lincoln County Process. He was committed to making the whiskey the, “same way Jack did” despite the ever-growing pressure to produce more of it. He retired in 1989 but his legacy lives on at Jack Daniel even today. His grandson, Chris Fletcher, now works as Assistant Master Distiller.

Jack Daniel Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher with his grandfather, Frank Bobo, the distillery’s fifth Master Distiller. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel}

When we reached out for comment, Jack Daniel Distillery Senior Vice President and General Manager Larry Combs stated that Frank Bobo was instrumental to the brand’s success.

“Frank and his team worked tirelessly to meet the world’s demand for our Tennessee Whiskey, and Jack Daniel’s would not be what it is today without his many contributions,” Combs stated. “There will never be another one quite like Mr. Frank Bobo. As Master Distiller, he set the standard for Jack Daniel’s and represented the hard work, dedication and attention to our founding principles that we all strive to meet today. But more than anything, Frank was our friend. He was a good man – a family man – and someone we always looked up to and will always remember him fondly. We know he will be missed, but we also know his legacy lives on in his family, in his work and in his service to Lynchburg and our country.”

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Avalee Reed Bobo. Survivors include daughters, Karen (Frank) Fletcher of Lynchburg and Cindy (Kerry) Dove of Nolensville; grandchildren, Chris (Ashley) Fletcher, Kaleigh (Tyler) Hatfield, Allison (Andrew) Gossett, and Sam Dove; and great-grandchildren, Madison Hatfield, Iris Gossett, Liam Hatfield, and Elijah Gossett.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020 at Jennings-Moore-Cortner Funeral Home in Lynchburg. Funeral Services will follow at 2 p.m. with Rev. Allison Gossett and Rev. Bob Jared officiating. Interment will be at Lynchburg Cemetery with Frank Fletcher, Kerry Dove, Chris Fletcher, Sam Dove, Tyler Hatfield, and Andrew Gossett serving as pallbearers. 

In lieu of flowers, family members ask that you make a donation to the Lynchburg Methodist Church, where both Frank and Avalee were devoted members. Their address is 65 Mechanic Street North in Lynchburg. •

{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.}