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 Shift 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.}

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.}