Jack Daniel's is a brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey that is the highest selling American whiskey in the world. It is known for its square bottles and black label. It is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee by the Jack Daniel Distillery, which has been owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation since 1956. Despite being the location of a major operational distillery, Jack Daniel's home county of Moore is a dry county, so the product is not available for consumption at stores or restaurants within the county.
Although the product generally meets the regulatory criteria for classification as a straight bourbon, the company disavows this classification and markets it simply as Tennessee whiskey rather than as Tennessee bourbon.
Early history 
According to the Jack Daniel's website, founder Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was born in September 1846, although seemingly no one knows the exact date because the birth records were destroyed in a courthouse fire. If the 1846 date is correct, he might have become a licensed distiller at the age of 20, as the distillery claims a founding date of 1866. Other records list his birth date as September 5, 1846, and in the 2004 biography Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, author Peter Krass maintains that land and deed records show that the distillery was actually not founded until 1875. Jack was one of twelve children fathered by Calaway Daniel. Jack's mother, Lucinda Cook Daniel, died in 1847, after which his father remarried and had several more children. Jack Daniel's grandfather, Joseph "Job" Daniel emigrated from Wales as did his Scottish wife to the United States. He was of Welsh, Scottish, English, and Scots-Irish descent. In 2012, a Welshman, Mark Evans, claimed to have discovered the original recipe, in a book written by his great-great-grandmother in 1853, whose brother-in-law emigrated to Tennessee.
Jack died in 1911 from blood poisoning which started from an infection. The infection allegedly began in one of his toes, which Daniel injured one early morning at work by kicking his safe in anger when he could not get it open (he was said to always have had trouble remembering the combination).
Jack Daniel never married and did not have any children. However, he took his favorite nephew, Lem Motlow, under his wing. Lem was very skilled with numbers, and was soon doing all of the distillery's bookkeeping. In 1907, due to failing health, Jack Daniel gave the distillery to Motlow, who then bequeathed the distillery to his children, Robert, Reagor, Dan, Conner, and Mary, upon his death in 1947.
Tennessee passed a state-wide prohibition law in 1910, preventing the legal distillation of Jack Daniel's in the state, and as a result Lem Motlow began distilling operations in St Louis, Missouri and Birmingham, Alabama, though none of the production from these locations was ever sold due to quality problems. The introduction of prohibition in 1920 (until 1933) through the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution stopped production in St Louis; production in Alabama having been stopped earlier by that state's prohibition laws. All production then ceased. Even the Twenty-first Amendment enactment in 1933 repealing federal prohibition did not allow production in Lynchburg to restart, as the Tennessee state prohibition laws were still in effect. Motlow, as a Tennessee state senator, helped repeal these laws, allowing production to restart in 1938. The five-year gap between national repeal and Tennessee repeal was commemorated in 2008 with a gift pack of two bottles, one for the 75th anniversary of the end of prohibition and a second commemorating the 70th anniversary of the reopening of the distillery.
The U.S. government banned the manufacture of whiskey during World War II and a little beyond, from 1942 to 1946. Motlow resumed production of Jack Daniel's only in 1947 after good quality corn was again available.
When the company was later incorporated, it was incorporated as "Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, Prop., Inc." This has allowed the company to continue to include Lem Motlow, who died in 1947, in its marketing, since mentioning him in the advertising is technically just citing the full corporate name. Likewise, the advertisements continue to say that Lynchburg has only 361 people, though the 2000 census reports 5,740. This is allowable because the entire label was trademarked in the early 1960s when this figure was the actual population cited by the Census Bureau; changing the label would require applying for a new trademark or forfeiting trademark protection. However, the census population includes all of Moore County, as the county and city governments are consolidated. Moore County, where the Jack Daniel's distillery is located, is one of the state's many dry counties. Therefore, while it is legal to distill the product within the county, it is illegal to purchase it there. However, a state law has provided one exception: a distillery may sell one commemorative product, regardless of county statutes. Jack Daniel's now sells Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, the original No. 7 blend (in a commemorative bottle), and a seasonal blend (on rotation) at the distillery's White Rabbit Bottle Shop.
Recent history 
Tennessee Squires 
A Tennessee Squire is a member of the Tennessee Squire Association, which was formed in 1956 to honor special friends of the Jack Daniel's distillery. Many prominent business and entertainment professionals are included among the membership, which is obtained only through recommendation of a current member. Squires receive a wallet card and deed certificate proclaiming them as "owner" of an unrecorded plot of land at the distillery and an honorary citizen of Moore County, Tennessee.
Lowering to 80 proof 
Jack Daniel's black label was historically produced at 90 U.S. proof (45% alcohol by volume). The lower-end green label product was 80 proof. However, starting in 1987, the other label variations were also reduced in proof. This began with black label being initially reduced to 86 proof. (Both the black label and green label are made from the same ingredients; the difference is determined by professional tasters, who determined which of the batches would be sold under the higher-priced black label, the rest being sold under the green label.)
Then, starting in 2002, all generally-available Jack Daniel's products were diluted to 80 proof (including both black label and green label). The reason stated for this was that the distillery's marketing had found that customers preferred a lower proof whiskey; this also simplified the production process. This reduction in alcohol content was condemned by Modern Drunkard Magazine and a petition was formed for drinkers who disagreed with the change.
Jack Daniel's has produced higher-proof products at times. A one-time limited run of 96 proof, the highest proof Jack Daniel's had ever bottled at that time, was bottled for the 1996 Tennessee Bicentennial in a decorative bicentennial bottle. The distillery debuted their 94 proof "Jack Daniel's Single Barrel" in February 1997. The "2011 Holiday Select" is currently the company's highest proof at 100.
In 2006, Jack Daniel's sponsored the Perkins Engineering team in the Australian V8 Supercar series, which continued until the end of 2008. From 2009 their sponsorship moved to the newly formed Kelly Racing team, formed from the remnants of Perkins Engineering and now defunct HSV Dealer Team. Jack Daniel's also sponsored the Richard Childress Racing 07 car (numbered after the "Old No. 7") in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 2005 to 2009. Jack Daniel's also sponsors Zac Brown Bands Tour.
Master distillers 
Jeff Arnett, a company employee since 2001, became Jack Daniel's master distiller in 2008. He is the seventh person to hold the position in the distillery's history. His predecessor, Jimmy Bedford, held the position for 20 years. Bedford retired in mid-2008 after being the subject of a $3.5 million sexual harassment lawsuit against the company that ended in an out-of-court settlement, and he died on August 7, 2009 after suffering a heart attack at his home in Lynchburg.
- Old No. 7: Also known as Black Label, this is the original Jack Daniels. 80 proof.
- Gentleman Jack: Charcoal filtered mellowed twice, compared to once with Old No. 7. 80 proof.
- Single Barrel: Whiskey sourced from a single barrel in the company's warehouse. 94 proof.
- Tennessee Honey: A standard Jack Daniel's combined with a honey liqueur. 70 proof.
- Green Label: A lighter-bodied bottling of Old No. 7., not available everywhere. 80 proof.
- Silver Select: For export only. 100 proof.
Special bottlings 
The company has done special bottlings, sometimes to commemorate special events.
- Sinatra Select: A Tennessee whiskey sourced from deeply charred oak barrels and bottled at 90 proof. Meant to tribute the famous musician Frank Sinatra.
- Unaged Tennessee Rye: Jack Daniel's first new grain bill since the lift of Prohibition, rye is featured predominantly in the mash of this product rather than corn. The first batch is the run straight from the still and has not been kept in barrels. Only unaged corn spirits may be called whiskey, thus unaged Tennessee Rye is labeled as "Spirits Distilled From Rye". 80 proof.
- Holiday Select: Made with barrels used in Lynchburg's barrel tree, this is a limited bottling for the holiday season. The release in 2011 was 100 proof, and 2012's bottling was 90.4 proof.
- Master Distiller Series: This line is meant to honor the seven men who have held the position of master distiller in the company's history. This is bottled with 86 proof whiskey.
- Gold Medal Series: This run, started in 1996 and completed 10 years later, celebrates the company's seven wins of best whiskey at various spirits awards. Each of the seven medals was commemorated by a different bottle design and 86 proof whiskey.
- Angelo Lucchesi 90th Birthday: Angelo Lucchesi began working for the Jack Daniel's in 1953 as the distillery’s first salesman. 90 proof.
- Mr. Jack’s 160th Birthday: Released in 2010, this is packaged in a special black bottle. 80 proof.
- White Rabbit Saloon: Released in 2012, this commemorates the 120th anniversary of the opening of Jack Daniel's saloon of the same name. 86 proof.
- Tennessee Bicentennial: A one-time limited run of 96 proof, the highest proof Jack Daniel's had ever bottled at that time, was bottled for the 1996 celebration in a decorative bicentennial bottle.
Production process 
Jack Daniel's whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging, which is an extra step that is not used in making most Bourbon whiskey, and the company claims that this makes the product different than Bourbon. However, Tennessee whiskey is required to be "a straight Bourbon Whiskey" under terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and Canadian law, and there is no other legal definition of the term "Tennessee whiskey" (other than U.S. law governing the definition of "whiskey" in general).
After being used for the aging of Jack Daniel's whiskey, some of the barrels are sold to McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, for production of Tabasco sauce and to both the Mount Gay Rum company of Barbados and Appleton Estate of Jamaica for use in the aging process of their distinctively flavored rums.
Cultural references 
- The George Jones song "A whole lotta trouble for you" mentions "Jack Daniel's makes a good whiskey".
- The George Thorogood song "I Drink Alone" mentions "So I called up my pal Jack Daniel's and his partner Jimmy Beam".
- In the movie Animal House, the character John "Bluto" Blutarsky can be seen chugging an entire bottle of Old No. 7.
- The National's song "Baby We'll Be Fine" mentions "I pull off your jeans, and you spill Jack and Coke in my collar".
- The Kesha song "Tik Tok" mentions "Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack".
- In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Clark asks his father how he got through the holidays, and he replies "I had a lot of help from Jack Daniel's".
- In the film The Shining, Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, is seen drinking Jack Daniel's in the hotel bar, served by the ghostly bartender Lloyd.
- The French singer Orelsan in "Ils sont cools" includes the line "Passe la tise que je me Jack Danise" (which can be translated as "Give me the alcohol so I can be Jack Danieled").
- The cover of Patrick Wensink's book Broken Piano for President featured a book cover design based on the label of Jack Daniel's whiskey, which resulted in a cease-and-desist letter from the company.
- The cover of "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band", an autobiography collectively written by the members of the rock band Mötley Crüe, includes a bottle design based on that of Jack Daniel's whiskey.
- The Canadian rock band Three Days Grace mentions it in their song "Expectations", with the line "Threw a shot of Jack back, left with the jackpot."
- Eric Church has a song titled "Jack Daniels" in which he sings "Jack Daniels kicked my ass again last night." His song "Love Your Love The Most" includes "and hell yes I love my dog, and Jack D in my coke." "Sinners Like Me" says "so we sit on his headstone with a fifth of Jack D, here's to a long line of sinners like me."
- The Devil Makes Three reference Jack Daniels in their song "Old Number Seven" with the lyrics "Jack Daniels Old Number Seven, Tennessee Whiskey got me drinking in heaven."
- He's a Mental Giant by Tech N9ne contains the line: "…Like drinking Patron and Jack prone then jack on silk quilts…"
- Fuck Food by Tech N9ne contains the line: "…Action-packed with a rack and a little bit of that Jack…"
- Hank Williams Jr mentions Jack Daniels in his song "Dixie On My Mind" singing "The people here don't sip Jack Daniels whiskey,
The way they do in that Tennessee mountain land."
- Get Throw'd by Krizz Kaliko contains the line: "…Four horsemen I'm drinking, Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker…"
- The 1979 David Allen Coe song "Jack Daniels if you please" contains the line "Jack Daniels if you please, knock me to my knees".
- The Brad Paisley song Alcohol indirectly references Jack Daniel's by referencing the distillery's location in its chorus: "...since the day I left Milwaukee, Lynchburg, Bordeaux, France..."
- The Drive-By Truckers song "Dead, Drunk, And Naked" has the lyric "Me and old Jack Daniel's, become the best of friends. We got all them Baptists to die for our sins. I know the lord is coming. The South will rise again!"
- The Liane Edwards Band, popular country band from France, directly refers to the brand name in their song "Jack", ( My Best Friend's Name is) "Jack" . " He was born down in Lynchburg... My best friend's name is Jack, he may be your best friend too, when you drain him to his last drop, I'll be glad to share my friend with you..."
- The Charlie Daniels Band album "Way Down Yonder" depicts bottles of Jack Daniel's on its cover art.
- Dave Lewis released an instrumental single called "Jack Daniel's Green" in 1968.
- The character Barnes in Oliver Stone's 1986 film Platoon is drinking from a Jack Daniel's bottle when he drunkenly berates Taylor and his group.
- Hughes, T.,World's best-selling spirits revealed (and the winner is very unexpected), The Daily Mail, 6 June 2012.
- Stengel, Jim. "Jack Daniel's Secret: The History of the World's Most Famous Whiskey". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
- "Slight Change of Recipe". Time Magazine. Time Magazine. 1966-08-05. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- Cowdery, Charles K., Favorite whiskey myths debunked, The Chuck Cowdery Blog, December 16, 2009. (Accessed January 2011.)
- Cowdery, Charles K., Tennessee Whiskey Versus Bourbon Whiskey, The Chuck Cowdery Blog, February 21, 2009. (Accessed January 2011.)
- "Tennessee Myths and Legends". Tennessee State Library and Archives. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- Jasper "Jack" Newton Daniel.
- Welshman claims to have found original Jack Daniel's whiskey recipe (The Guardian)
- Freeth, N. (2005). Made in America: from Levis to Barbie to Google. St. Paul, MN: MBI.
- "Jack Daniel Distillery". The Whisky Guide. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "Brown-Forman Unveils Plans to Celebrate 75th Anniversary of End of Prohibition". RedOrbit.com. RedOrbit, Inc. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- The Tennessee General Assembly passed a 1994 special act for selling commemorative decanters containing Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey on January 2, 1995.
- "Drinkers object to Jack Daniel's watering whiskey down". USA Today. September 29, 2004. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- "A Legacy Betrayed", Modern Drunkard Magazine, 2002.
- "Jack Daniel's teams up with Kelly Racing". Holden Motorsport. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Jack Daniel's will end NASCAR sponsorship; Company backed a team for 5 years." The Tennessean, Sept. 22, 2009
- Hevesi, Dennis. "Jimmy Bedford, Guardian of Jack Daniel's, Dies at 69", The New York Times, August 10, 2009. Accessed August 11, 2009.
- Hevesi, Dennis. "Jimmy Bedford, Guardian of Jack Daniel’s, Dies at 69", The New York Times, August 10, 2009. Accessed August 11, 2009.
- "Former Jack Daniel's master distiller dies at 69". WRCB. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11.[dead link]
- "Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select whiskey". BNP Media. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Jack Daniel's Unaged Rye Whiskey". uncrate. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "Holiday Select". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Axelrod, A. (2003). The complete idiot's guide to mixing drinks. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha.
- "Chapter 3 - Annex 307.3 to Annex 315: Annex 313: Distinctive Products".
- Canada Food and Drug regulations, C.R.C. C.870, provision B.02.022.1
- Walker, Tracy. Walker. It's clear that brown spirits have gained momentum, particularly the Tennessee whiskey segment. Retrieved February 1, 2007.
- "Jack Daniel Recipes". Unknown parameter
- Jack Daniel's Classy Book Cover Cease-And-Desist Letter For Patrick Wensink's 'Broken Piano For President' Huffington Post July 23, 2012
Further reading 
- Axelrod, Alan. The complete idiot's guide to mixing drinks. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books. ISBN 0-02-864468-9. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
- Krass, Peter (2004). Blood and whiskey: the life and times of Jack Daniel. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-27392-9.
- McCarley, Daniel J. (2011). Jack Daniel's Bottle Collector's Guide. Nashville, TN: Self Published. ISBN 978-0-578-09069-6.
- Waymack, M. H., & Harris, J. F. (1995). The book of classic American whiskeys. Chicago, Illinois: Open Court.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jack Daniel's Distillery|
- Official website
- Jack Daniel's family genealogy[dead link]
- "An Interview with Jimmy Bedford, Distiller, Jack Daniels," AlcoholReviews.com.
- Building a better barrel – Associated Press June 6, 2007