I’m not a man and I’m not even a huge whiskey drinker, but for some reason I have always been obsessed with going to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg Tennessee.

I think it may have more to do with the image it conjures up in my mind; tiny little southern town, men named Goose and getting drunk in the sun, than actually being a huge JD fan. It turns out I was only right about the first point.

My friends and I booked a southern American road trip for my 25th birthday, namely because hiring a car is cheaper when you’re over 25 but also, having all been to America separately over the last couple of years, we wanted to visit parts of America we hadn’t been to before. Obviously, visiting the Jack Daniels Distillery factored high on that list (for me anyway)

We drove from Memphis, Tennessee to the tiny (pop. 5,740) town of Lynchburg. We got there pretty late and pulled into Lynchburg County Inn to get a good nights sleep before the fun started the next day. If a room that smells of sweat and is full of rotund house flies is your idea of a good place to stay, then I can’t recommend it enough.

Unwelcome house guests aside, our trip to Lynchburg turned out to be one of the best days of the holiday. We started the morning with a quick stop at the town centre for breakfast. Consisting of a handful of shops and literally two places to eat, it was lucky we weren’t too hungry. After a bit of sightseeing (mainly visiting a store because it had the same name as one of us) and a quick bite to eat, we went to the famous Lynchburg Hardware & General Store. You’d be forgive for thinking it was going to be an actual hardware store but it is actually a store completely devoted to Jack Daniels┬ámemorabilia. From bottle stops to poker chips and rocking chairs, you couldn’t want for anything more JD related. It took a good while to explore and I left with an amazing vintage looking Jack Daniels whiskey decanter.

Once we had our fill of the ‘busy’ town, we headed down to the main event: The Distillery.

Unlike a lot of other landmarks in America (cough Graceland cough), visiting the Jack Daniels distillery was actually all free, even down to the complimentary homemade lemonade at the end of your tour. All the guides are volunteers that work at the distillery during the week which means they are so hugely passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about it all. Unfortunately we didn’t have Goose (it was his day off apparently) but we did get the equally brilliant Chambliss (no, we’d never heard of that name before either)

 

So in between telling us stories of him getting drunk with his buddies and chatting up air hostesses, he filled us in on the entire Jack Daniels history; from why they think it is called Old No. 7 (apparently because it was the seventh batch that made the now infamour Jack Daniels) to why it is still a dry county. He knew everything there was to know about the distilling process, why they make their own barrels and how you tell the difference between whiskey and bourbon.Below you can see the limestone cave spring, the source of the iron-free water that goes into Jack Daniel’s.

Because it is still a dry county, we weren’t allowed to taste any of the whiskey (darn) but you are allowed to purchase their limited edition versions, sold in their mini liquor shop. It is here that you can pick up the super strong and seasonal variations that are quite hard to track down elsewhere.

It was literally one of the most fun ‘educational’ trips I have ever been on and something I would absolutely recommend to anyone going to that part of America. Find out more here http://www.jackdaniels.com/visit

And just for fun, I’ll leave you with the best image there ever was.

 

All pictures are my own.