Field Trips: Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee

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Tucked away in a remote corner of Tennessee is the single largest producer of American Whiskey, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is sold in more than 170 countries and has brand recognition around the world. To get to the picturesque distillery in a Tennessee holler closer to Huntsville, Alabama than to Nashville, you’ll need to plan ahead — it’s not a place you would just stumble across in your travels. Despite this, Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee sees more than 300,000 visitors a year. Wondering what to expect when you get there? We’ve got you covered.

Getting There

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery is about 90 minutes outside of Nashville, Tennessee and about four and a half hours from Louisville, Kentucky. The closest place to stay from the northern direction with a variety of hotels and dining options is Murfreesboro, Tennessee, about an hour away. From the southern direction, Huntsville, Alabama is also about an hour away. Expect to spend the majority of your travel for that last hour on two and four lane highways with little between. Gas up before leaving and expect delays from farm equipment.

Upon arriving at the distillery, there are parking lots on the left for cars and parking lots in the middle of the driveway for motorcycles. There are pedestrian paths to downtown Lynchburg on the right. Guests will cross a footbridge over the creek to enter the visitor center.

The Distillery Tours

There are four main tours offered at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery: The Dry County Tour (yes, the largest distillery in the United States is in a dry county!), the Flight of Jack tour, the Angel’s Share Tour, and the Bonded Tour. Prices range from $25-75 per person, and there are discounts for seniors and active duty military and veterans on several of the tours. The Dry County Tour is open to children and admission is free or discounted depending on ages, but for all other tours all guests must be 21+.

Tours are called out over an intercom system and tour groups gather at the back of the museum to begin the tour. Right out the back door is a truck with a bed full of whiskey barrels, where guests stop to have their photo taken before boarding a bus that will take them to the back of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery.

The tour begins at the fire pit where the maple charcoal is made for the charcoal mellowing process known as the “Lincoln County Process.” The fires aren’t burning every day — a batch of charcoal lasts ten months to a year in the numerous vats where the process takes place — but there is a video playing nearby of the fires, which have to be carefully tended to create the perfect charcoal.

Guests then walk by the old fire brigade engines, one of which is a still-running REO Speedwagon. Up next is a “larger than life” statue of Jack Daniel himself, standing nearly five foot eight instead of Daniel’s actual height of five foot two. Behind that is the legendary cave spring that still feeds water to the distillery to this day, the reason Daniel chose the site to begin with.

Across from the cave spring is one of the most interesting spots on the tour, Daniel’s office. Jack Daniel himself didn’t do a lot of the day-to-day operations of his distilling business, instead leaving that to his nephew, Lem Motlow. But he actually spent time in that small office building, which was used until the 1950s, and a fateful day in that office is what led to his death. As the story goes, Daniel stopped by to get something out of the safe and found himself unable to open it, kicking the metal behemoth out of frustration. The kick broke his toe, which led to amputation, gangrene, and eventually blood poisoning, the cause of his death at age 65.

Take a Mental Photo

The next stops are production areas where photographs are not allowed — the distillery where the Vendome copper column stills and numerous try boxes produce flowing whiskey, the mash rooms where massive mash tuns contain fermenting distillers’ beer, the charcoal mellowing room, and more. The charcoal mellowing room is something you will only see in Tennessee, and a few of the vats are fitted with plexiglass tops to reveal the slow drip of baby Tennessee Whisky going on inside.

The Rickhouse & Tasting Rooms

Guests then enter a rickhouse that is in the same valley as the distillery — other rickhouses are scattered throughout the 1300+ acre property and vary between ricked and palletized. The front part of the rickhouse still has ricks and resting barrels, but the back part of the rickhouse contains tasting rooms with glass walls where tour guests conclude their tour with sips of Tennessee whiskey while surrounded by barrels. The tastings vary by tour and can include anything from Old No. 7 to Tennessee Honey to Gentleman Jack.

Exit to the Gift Shop

After exiting the tasting rooms guests have a final opportunity to ask any remaining questions before being directed to the gift shop. There guests can see their photos from the start of the tour and purchase photo packages starting at about $30. There’s also an adjoining bottle shop that features the majority of Jack Daniel’s offerings. The tongue-in-cheek explanation of why tastings and bottle sales are allowed in a dry county is that the tastings are just sips and the bottles are just souvenirs.

Tour Tips

After checking in for a scheduled tour or purchasing tickets, guests can learn about the history of the Jack Daniel’s brand in the museum. There are artifacts including Jack Daniel’s famous suit and hats, musical instruments from his legendary brass band, and bottles and advertisements from throughout the brand’s 157 year history. There is also a sizable section about the legacy of Nathaniel “Nearest” Greene, the formerly-enslaved Black man who taught the young Jack Daniel to distill.

As with all tours, be sure to wear closed-toe, flat shoes like sneakers for the tour. There is a lot of walking involved and there are many steps to go up and down. It may be possible to modify the tour for those with accessibility needs, but that would need to be scheduled far in advance and there may be several production areas that are not included.

What To Do After Your Tour

The town of Lynchburg, Tennessee is really only there because of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. There’s a footpath that leads walkers to the tiny town square across the creek that feeds the cave spring.

The biggest attraction in the town is Miss Mary Bobo’s, a boarding house-turned restaurant that was once run by one of the town’s most famous inhabitants. Mary Bobo’s granddaughter, Sherrie Moore, has spent her career in the distilling business, first at Jack Daniel’s then at Nearest Green Distillery and now as a whiskey industry consultant. The restaurant is today owned by Brown-Forman, which runs it much as Miss Mary Bobo did until the end of her life. Meals are served by reservation only and a hostess sits with you at your table and shares stories of the boarding house and Miss Mary Bobo. The menu is prix fixe so this is not recommended for those with dietary restrictions. Offerings include things like fried chicken, meatloaf, fried okra, baked apples, macaroni and cheese, white beans and pepper relish, and cornbread.

Also in town is the hardware store that Jack Daniel operated during Prohibition, which today serves as a gift shop for Jack Daniel’s Distillery. There are also barbecue restaurants, candy shops, antique stores, and more.

There are also plenty of rocking chairs in the shade positioned around the distillery for guests who would just like to sit and take in the scenery.

It takes some planning to get to Lynchburg, Tennessee, but the effort is well worth it. To learn more about Jack Daniel’s or to schedule a tour, please visit

This article originally appeared on Alcohol Professor and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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