The Jack Daniel’s Distillery is a popular stopover for those driving between Chattanooga and Nashville, located in rural Moore County. The distillery is recognized worldwide as the original Tennessee whiskey. All the Jack Daniel’s in the world, now in 170 countries, is made in the small town of Lynchburg, an impressive feat when you drive through the town in a matter of minutes.
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Jack Daniel: The Man
Jack Daniel opened his distillery in his small Tennessee town in 1866, the first registered in America, but other reports claim it wasn’t until 1875. He followed the traditions of his Scots-Irish heritage, sourcing water from the cave spring on his property. Daniel learned the trade from Dan Call, a local minister, and Nathan “Nearest” Green, a formerly enslaved man that worked with Call.
The Old No. 7 whiskey, which is still the top bottle, won acclaim at the 1904 World’s Fair. By 1911 he had died of blood poisoning after he kicked a safe and his foot became infected. You can still see the locked safe in his office. But in that time he unknowingly created an American icon.
After his death, the company passed on to Daniel’s nephew, who guided the company through Prohibition. The distillery stored their whiskey until it was repealed. World War II also shut down production in the 1940s.
Frank Sinatra brought the brand back to the public consciousness in the 1950s when he required it on his performance rider and was allegedly buried with a bottle. It forever tied the company with the music industry and remains a sponsor of many concerts and festivals.
Since then, the distillery has gone through a number of Master Distillers and added new products to its brand including canned cocktails and flavored spirits. But Jack Daniel’s continues to be one of the most well-known spirit companies in the world.
What is Tennessee Whiskey?
Don’t call it a bourbon! Jack Daniel’s distinguishes itself as Tennessee whiskey (or “sippin’ whiskey”), which is made in a similar style to bourbon but has an additional step of filtering through sugar maple charcoal before maturation in oak barrels.
This filtration is called the “Lincoln County Process” and is an important distinction in what makes it Tennessee whiskey. The name comes from neighboring Lincoln County, where Daniel’s original distillery was located.
The whiskey also must be made in the state. At least 51 percent of the spirit must be made with corn, along with grains like malt and rye. At Jack Daniel’s, the whiskey is aged for a minimum of four years. It’s one stop along the official Tennessee Whiskey Trail.
Touring Jack Daniel’s Distillery
There are a number of different tour experiences available at Jack Daniel’s Distillery. The tours run from 9:00 am-4:30 pm daily, apart from major holidays, and include about a half mile of walking. Discounts are offered for seniors and members of the military. Tours are guided by some of the 700 distillery employees, most of whom are Lynchburg born and raised. Many are also descendants of past Jack employees.
Highlights of the tour include the collection of vintage bottles and artifacts, barrelhouse, the rickhouse, Jack’s office, the underground limestone cave spring, and the bottling line. There’s also an onsite fire brigade to protect against the very combustible liquids with antique fire engines.
They vary in length, depending on what you’re interested in, but are between one and three hours. The price ranges from $20 to 125. Some include tastings and lunch while the Dry County tour is just the basic informational tour. The Angel’s Share tour is the best if you’re interested in whiskey because the tastings include the hardest-to-find bottles.
Be aware that Lynchburg is located in a dry county so you won’t be able to stock up at the liquor store. White Rabbit, named for Daniel’s former saloon, is the onsite store and the only place to buy liquor in Lynchburg. And, in case you weren’t aware, the drinking age in Tennessee is 21 and identification is required for these tours.
Book your tour using the official website and drive yourself or book the Jack Daniel’s Hometown Experience with our partners, which includes the tour, tasting, lunch, and transportation from downtown Nashville.
Getting to Lynchburg
Jack Daniel Distillery is located at 182 Lynchburg Highway, Lynchburg, Tennessee 37352. The distillery is about 2 hours drive from Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1.5 hours from Nashville, Tennessee, and 4.5 hours from Atlanta, Georgia.
Downtown Lynchburg has a number of shops including the former hardware store turned Jack Daniels gift shop. There’s also the Moon Pie General Store (founded in nearby Chattanooga), a winery, and another distillery.
Where to Eat in Lynchburg
From the distillery, it’s a short walk to downtown Lynchburg. Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant is a former boarding house-turned-restaurant dating back over 100 years. It’s an essential part of the Jack Daniel’s experience, owned for many years by his relatives, and is often busy, especially during the summer months. Make a reservation to enjoy the Southern-style dishes.
But if you can’t get a table, you’re not out of luck. Southern Perks Cafe & Bistro has breakfast sandwiches, pizzas, paninis, and salads. Barrelhouse BBQ has been referenced as having one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the state, including its pulled pork and habanero sauce.
Neighboring Tullahoma also has dozens of restaurants. The Celtic Cup is a charming Irish-themed cafe and coffee shop with sandwiches, frappes, and ice cream. Don’t let the gas station location fool you. Smoky Mountain Biscuits is the perfect place for a pre-distillery breakfast.
Where to Stay in Lynchburg
Lynchburg Country Inn is the closest you can get to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery but it’s a basic roadside motel. Rooms have coffee makers, microwaves, and fridges, along with cable televisions. Tolley House Bed and Breakfast is another option in town. Wiseman Park in downtown Lynchburg also offers basic and affordable parking for RVs.
Looking to continue your Tennessee whiskey odyssey? Continue on to Tullahoma and Franklin, home to three other distilleries.