Posts Tagged ‘Jack Daniel’s’

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.

Building the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

January 14th, 2012 1 comment


A release published Thursday from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association highlights a challenge and an opportunity for the growing number of distilleries in the state of Tennessee.

A record 11,757 people visited all six distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour in 2011, far surpassing the previous mark of 9,402 set in 2010, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced today. Visitors came from all 50 states and 16 countries, the KDA reported.

What’s immediately obvious is that the report isn’t from the state of Kentucky or its tourism board. It’s from an association with much more interest in the success of its members and their place in the community and its history. Up until a recent change in state law, Tennessee only had three distilleries: Jack Daniel’s (Lynchburg), George Dickel (Normandy) and Prichard’s (Kelso – the only Tennessee owned distillery).

Today we have six permitted distilleries in the state of Tennessee with the additions of Tennessee-owned Ole Smoky (Gatlinburg), Short Mountain Distillery (Woodbury), and Kentucky-owned Corsair (Nashville). That brings the total to three Tennessee-owned distilleries. and more are on the way.

A quick look at the state of Tennessee’s effort to promote tourism illustrates another opportunity for distilleries to organize under a Tennessee Distillers’ Association. The closest effort to promote our industry and state heritage is something called the “White Lightning Trail.” Curiously absent from the listed points of interest is any one of the state’s distilleries, but it does include the Pizza Palace, Buttermilk Donut Shoppe, and the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

The next closest effort by the state of Tennessee to promote distilleries is literally named after Kentucky-owned Jack Daniel’s: “The Jack Trail.” Ironically, it’s the one trail Tennessee has corporately branded. Among the more than 326 listed attractions that would take you weeks to visit are: Nissan, JG’s Pizza &  Steakhouse, the Nashville Zoo and countless churches, government buildings and entire cities. The trail does include Jack Daniel’s, George Dickell and Prichard’s, but it’s so unfocused you’d never find them listed.

What the state needs is The Tennessee Whiskey Trail that takes visitors on a focused journey through our state’s deep history and heritage of whiskey making. As a couple of things here illustrate, this might be better handled by Tennessee’s distillers themselves.

Signature gathering for referendum begins

A couple of days ago we started slowly gathering signatures from our friends and neighbors who want to see a new opportunity for jobs and growth come to Cannon County.

As of today, we’re 7% of the way to our goal.

Starting July 1, you can start checking the thermometer here daily to see how close we are to the total number of  signatures we need to place a referendum on the November ballot. That will allow voters to decide whether they want to allow distilleries like the one that opens this weekend in Gatlinburg, TN or the Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel distilleries.

How to help: We’ve gotten a few folks contact us letting us know they want to sign our petition. If you would like for us to visit you, please remember to include your address and phone number so we can make sure you’ll be home. Let us know if you would like to help gather signatures as well. Only registered voters of Cannon County are eligible to sign the petition.

In the news: Don’t miss the article on our effort in this week’s Cannon Courier. If you are registered for their website, you can read the story here.

Our friends: One of the guys helping gather signatures is a long time Cannon County resident and farmer John Whittemore.  John’s great grandfather was a moonshiner in Cannon County. John’s on Facebook if you want to speak with him about helping us out. Check back later this week for more information about John and why he’s helping.