Why is Nashville TN growing
Tennessee: Where the whiskey grows between the trees
Prohibition still applies to the place where Jack Daniel's is made. But loopholes have recently been used. A visit to Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Flat farm houses, green fields, white fences, the occasional red and blue of the flag. Outside Tennessee passes you, and with every meter you get closer to Lynchburg, you leave the cheerfully loud Nashville with its honky tonks, guitar bands and stag parties in cowboy boots further behind you. After an hour and a half, a sign finally points to the right: To the “Jack Daniel Distillery”. Every drop of Jack Daniel's that is in a drinks department anywhere in the world or goes over the counter in a bar has always been produced in the same sleepy nest. Lynchburg, that is: a main street, a prison museum, a village square with a court in the middle, surrounded by facades like from a western film.
Everything seems to have fallen out of time here a little. The plastic letters that invite you to “all you can eat breakfast” were probably not new in the fifties. The “Lynchburg Ladies” sell handicrafts in a shop: patchwork blankets, pastel-colored crochet doilies and knitted dolls. Next door there is homemade fudge (with Jack Daniel's). The Caboose Café serves pulled pork and rice with beans, jambalaya and pecan pie. There is a bank in front of Judy's leather shop, above it the strict notice: "No loitering after 7pm."
The distillery at the entrance to the village can be reached via a small bridge over a stream (a sign warns of snakes and snapping turtles). It is an official cultural monument - and welcomes you with a modern, airy wooden structure that also houses a small museum.
The collection gives a first glimpse into history. While an old bottle from 1880 is still inconspicuous, another from 1906 has the typical angular shape. The artifacts go back to Art Hancock, the first marketing officer the distillery ever hired. His motto: "Tell, not sell". What sounds suspiciously like today's modern storytelling, he postulated back in the 1950s. We are told the story of America's oldest registered distillery and its founder by Chad. Chad wears dungarees, a floppy hat, and carefully twirled Southern hipster mustache and was, of course, born in Lynchburg. And he warns us of what's coming: a third of a mile, 140 steps, in between it can get hot and loud and, depending on how you feel, “smell a little”.
The tour starts outdoors, where the first stop is the coal, through which the whiskey is later filtered - what distinguishes Tennessee whiskey from bourbon. The distillery even produces its own coal: for this, sugar maple is made with old. No. 7 sprayed and set on fire, after one or two hours the wood turned into fingernail-sized carbon chips.
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