Posts Tagged ‘heritage’

Inside the Tennessee Squire Room at Jack Daniel’s

Tennessee Squire Room
A slightly blurry photo of the Tennessee Squire Room at Jack Daniel’s Distillery

You may not have realized it before, but there’s a secret room at Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, TN that not even the tour guides are allowed to talk about. It’s called the Tennessee Squire Room.

It was built 12 years ago as a 25 x 14 room trimmed and floored in pine and densely packed with pieces of history shared by other Tennessee Squires. The website for Tennessee Squires is password protected, and if you weren’t aware the Tennessee Squire Room even existed upon your visit you won’t find the distillery staff willing to help you discover it. It’s that kind of secret.

On my first visit to the Tennessee Squire Room, I was asked to sit at the back of the main lobby. Moments later, a woman appeared and asked if I had a tour. When I told her I had, she smiled patiently and said nothing like it was my turn to guide the conversation. I took the hint and told her I was a Tennessee Squire. “Right this way,” she said, briefly mentioning she would have waited all day for me to say so.

To become a Tennessee Squire, you gotta love Jack, and you have to be nominated by a current Squire who can only nominate one person in their entire lifetime. I have Bartt Baird, a former co-worker at WKRN-TV, to thank for my nomination.

As a Tennessee Squire, you get a very nice gold-embossed deed to a small plot of land and a certificate making you an honorary citizen of Moore County. You’ll occasionally receive letters from locals asking permission to let their cows graze your land or problems with skunks or possums. You also get to hang out in the Tennessee Squire Room and share the Jack Daniel’s experience through the many items left by other Squires. You’ll find one I left among the challenge coins, and I’ve probably already told you too much.

Honoring the old ways through organic practices

August 14th, 2011 No comments

John Whittemore shares how organic and permaculture farm practices used by Short Mountain Distillery honor our agricultural heritage. You can hear the guys from the CO-OP putting together our grain bin in the back ground.

Short Mountain Distillery planted 7 acres of organic corn you see featured in this video. The test went very well, and John is busy planning 20 rotational acres of organic corn on Billy’s 300 acre farm for next year.


A Tennessee tradition of whiskey making rises and shines

Check out this nice article by Jennifer Folsom in the latest Watertown Gazette on our effort to resurrect an age-old Tennessee tradition of moonshine and whiskey making on Short Mountain. Awesome photos by Jessica Atnip. Here is an excerpt.

“While we were collecting signatures for the referendum, the people we talked with were very supportive,” says Kaufman, noting that once people in his community realize what his goals are, they are ready to support him and the distillery.

“People want their way of life honored. We did some digging and discovered that in Cannon County before prohibition there were 18 legal distilleries. The people of this area were flourishing at that time and grew orchards, corn and sorghum to support the industry. It was a time when farming made sense.”

Kaufman, great-grandson of Jesse Shwayder, founder of Samsonite Luggage, doesn’t just ask for support from his community – he first gives it. The distillery was founded with his great-grandfather’s tradition of letting the Golden Rule guide him, on hand and in heart.

“I knew I needed to create an industry which would include agriculture, this area’s rural heritage and would encourage people getting together and working together,” says Kaufman of the distillery’s principle of mutual respect. Kaufman wants to “turn the clock back 100 years” and return to a farming model which creates value-added products and not only supports itself but the community as well. He plans to source agricultural products from within 30 miles of the distillery and bring jobs and needed revenue to his community.

This spring Little Short Mountain Farm and a team of neighbors and volunteers planted seven acres of corn. They used five teams of mules from the Middle Tennessee Mule Skinners Association. (See for a video of the planting.)

“Everyone who has been employed here since the start has lived within 15 miles,” says Grantham. “We are trusting our neighbors and involving our community, and so they want to be a part this. We want every part of this distillery to reflect this community.”

Short Mountain Distillery reaches petition signature goal

Cannon County residents helped us reach our petition signature goal at Saturday’s Celebration on the Square in Woodbury, TN. Hundreds of county residents weathered the brutal heat to celebrate the completion of renovations to the county’s historic courthouse.

A couple of days after the August elections, we’ll turn in the signatures we’ve gathered to place the ballot question before Cannon County voters in November. The referendum results will decide whether or not voters will allow an American brand of distilled spirits to operate on Short Mountain and bring  jobs, tourism, and revenue to the local economy.

With your support in November, Short Mountain Distillery will honor and preserve a long history of distilled craft spirits from the hills of Cannon County that at one time was said to be the finest in the country. Over the next few months we hope to give you a taste of our rich agricultural heritage here in Cannon County and help honor a way of life we hope to share with tourists from across the nation and around the world.

If you didn’t get a chance to sign our petition, you can catch us election day August 5th gathering more signatures than we need to make certain the good people of Cannon County can vote for their future in November.