Jack Daniel’s is synonymous with Tennessee Whiskey. The Distillery, founded in 1866, by Jack Daniel in Lynchburg, Tennessee, is the oldest registered distillery in the United States, and is one of the most well known producers of whiskey in the world.
After leaving home at a very early age, Jasper Newton Daniel, more commonly known as Jack, is taken in by Reverend Dan Call where he learns the art of whiskey making from the preacher and an enslaved man named Nathan “Nearest” Green. Jack would later hire Nearest to be head distiller at the Jack Daniel Distillery. In 1904, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 takes the first of seven gold medals at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.
The story goes that in 1906, arriving at work early and unable to open his safe, Jack kicks it and breaks his toe. The injury is said to have worsened and led to his demise. Never having married, Jack leaves his land and distillery to his nephew, Lem Motlow. The greatest challenge faced by Master Distiller Jess Motlow and his older brother Lem were Prohibition and the depression. When the 18th Amendment is ratified and whiskey can’t be legally sold, Jess stores his supply of whiskey in Birmingham, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. In 1933 prohibition is repealed, but it takes several more years before production of Jack Daniel’s resumed since quality ingredients were in short supply at that time.
As World War II built to a peak, the distillery ceased production so that resources could be redirected to help the war effort.
Jack Daniel’s premium Tennessee whiskey is still made using iron-free cave spring water and is charcoal-mellowed (through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal) and matured at the National Register of Historic Places Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It is made with the fines corn, rye, and barley malt. Its distinctive character is a result of natural fermentation, careful distillation, and the water from Cave Spring that runs at a constant 56° F.
It is said that Frank Sinatra was introduced to Jack Daniel’s by Jackie Gleason at a smoky bar in New York City in 1947. The friendship between Frank and Jack continued for life. Jack Daniel’s went wherever Frank went. Jack Daniels Tennesse Whiskey was in Frank’s jacket pocket when he was laid to rest in 1998.