Nelson Eddy of Jack Daniel's Distillery

Did kicking a safe really kill Jack Daniel? Is Sinatra buried with a bottle of Jack? And who was Nathan "Nearest" Green? Lots of legends and truths to uncover as I speak with Jack Daniel's chief historian.

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

I want to share the entire interview I had with Nelson Eddy, the chief historian for the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, TN

Nelson invited me over to the Bethel House, next to the distillery for our interview and we talked about Jack, his mentor Nathan Green, his nephew Lem Motlow, Sinatra, and some of the legends and lore surrounding the distillery.

This episode includes the following:

  • Jack's disputed birthdate and so-called immaculate birth
  • The Waggoners and the Call family
  • Nathan "Uncle Nearest" Green and Jasper Newton
  • Charcoal mellowing of a whiskey and Alfred Eaton
  • Dan Call's call
  • 1866 or 1875 Jack Daniel's founding date?
  • The registration of distilleries and taxing whiskey
  • The Lincoln County Process and why Jack got the reputation for it
  • When did they discover the Uncle Nearest story?
  • The Green family heritage
  • Jack and the Temperance Movement
  • Duncan Cooper and Edward Carmack shootout in Nashville
  • How Tennessee moves to distillery Prohibition
  • Kicking the safe
  • 99 Bushels a day
  • Belle of Lincoln, St. Louis, Alabama, and the fire
  • Jack Daniel name lives on in Prohibition
  • What happened to all of that whiskey?
  • Medicinal Jack Daniel's?
  • Schenley tries to acquire Jack Daniel's
  • How George Dickel re-entered the picture
  • The changes in proof over the years
  • Sinatra's influence and allocation
  • The introduction of Gentleman Jack
  • The many different expressions
  • Jack Daniel's Bottled-in-Bond
  • Sinatra's loyalty to Old No. 7
  • A pack of camels, a bottle of Jack Daniel's, and a roll of dimes
  • The first female Tennessee Squire
  • The story of friendship
  • Nearest and the love of music
  • The Jack and Nearest Advancement Initiative
  • Bringing innovation through diversity
  • Working with Fawn Weaver and Uncle Nearest
  • The photograph
  • The stories
  • Where to eat in Lynchburg


Welcome to Whiskey Lore, I'm Drew Hannush

Well I hope you've enjoyed the 12 days of Whiskey Lore I have one more episode coming up and it is going to be my interview with Fawn Weaver of Uncle Nearest and if you heard the Uncle Nearest episode you heard a decent portion of that interview but you didn't hear the whole thing by a long stretch actually because we talked for about 2 hours and 15 minutes and I'm going to release that for you to listen to in our upcoming episode but in this episode I wanted to take a opportunity here at the end of the season to share with you the entire nelson eddy interview that I did nelson eddy being the chief historian of Jack Daniel's and he gave me a whole lot of information that ended up in that Uncle Nearest episode in the two episodes actually and so I wanted you to hear some of it from his lips rather than from my lips and there's also a whole bunch of other stuff that we talk about in here we talk about why Jack Daniel's was not the biggest distillery in Tennessee at the end of the 19th century and it's a very interesting reason I think you will find sort of humorous and then we'll also find out whether there was a medicinal Jack Daniel's there was a bottled in bond and there is again we'll talk a little bit about that also the relationship to George Dickel we'll talk some about Sinatra's influence Gentleman Jack where that came from the loyalty that Sinatra had for Old No. 7 and we'll also talk about the Jack and Nearest advancement initiative and also find out where to eat when you go to Lynchburg Tennessee and you are feeling a little craving for some local fare so that's all coming up in this episode wanted to share this with you in its entirety to finish out the year so I hope you enjoy my conversation we're at the Bethel House which is right next to the distillery and gonna just sit back relax and chat a little bit about Jack Daniel's here on Whiskey Lore

i was not that familiar with the early years of Jack Daniel's and how he ended up becoming a distiller and his relationship with a preacher who apparently as lord goes was a guiding hand in helping him discover the pleasure of distilling whiskey so give a little bit of background if you could on Jack Daniel's and his family life and how he got into whiskey distilling sure now if you wander around the hollow and you look at the statue of Jack at the visitor center and you go and you look at his grave it's going to say that he was born in 1850 and if we can prove two more miracles we can make Jack a saint because his mother died before 1850 so his birth in 1850 is highly problematic okay that is probably the year that Lem Motlow who had those two works done was told by Jack it was 1850 Jack might not have known and the reason he's he's born in 1848 and we get that date mainly from the census records where they record how old he was so from those census records we can deduce and that he was born in 1848 September of 1848 we don't know the exact day because we don't have a birth certificate but he's born in 1848 and he leaves home at a very early age you know anywhere from five to eight years old in that time frame he'll leave home and the reason he leaves home is he's the last of ten children and his mother will pass away probably because of complications of some sort of the birth or being weakened because of the birth of Jack but she'll die shortly after he's born in 1848 she'll die in 49 okay and then his father will do what any intelligent man who has 10 children will do he immediately gets remarried okay so he'll get remarried and have three more children so a family of 13 will jax the last of 10 of that first family and apparently he feels neglected that's the story that's told and he'll leave home and he'll go to work with a neighbor and friend a member of the Waggoner family he'll go there first because you know if in this day and age kids they're beloved but they're also considered labor and you know Jack's dad was a farmer the Waggoner family will farm and so Jack is taken in but he has to kind of earn his keep he'll start with the Waggoner family but later he'll be introduced to the Dan Call family and calls a local Lutheran minister but he's far more than that he's a farmer too so and he has a general store and on his property as many people in the county would have a still they'd have it still because that's one way to keep your corn it's not only not going to go bad if you keep it as whiskey it's actually going to go up in price right so he'll have a still on his property and he will have an enslaved man on the property by the name of Nathan Greene who who's known by his nickname as many people including Jack Daniel's are known by a nickname his nickname is Nearest jax is Jack but his real name is Jasper Newton Daniel we don't think we sell nearly as much Jasper Newton as we do Jack so we're glad that he went by a nickname so Nearest is on the property there with his family and Jack comes along and the Lutheran minister has a young family started and he has you know the general store the congregation the farm the still so he'll take Jack on initially it's just to help out but over time Jack will meet Nearest sons first he'll meet George and Eli Green they're much closer to Jack sage the Nearest is but eventually he'll meet Nearest come to the still now the call family has a history in making whiskey and and Nearest has his history we don't know where that comes from by the census records we can tell at one point we find that he's from Maryland so he has some whiskey making knowledge Dan Call's family has some whiskey making knowledge but day to day the person at the still is near Green okay and so Jack Daniel's though he comes to live and work for Dan Call the Lutheran minister he will be mentored and he'll learn the trade of making whiskey at the side of Nearest Green because Dan Calls got all these other things he's got to do but Nearest is given charge of the still he's Dan Calls head distiller and so it's at Nearest feet that Jack will learn how to make whiskey he'll learn about the Lincoln County process which is unique or at that time was unique to this area there are now today to be a Tennessee whiskey you have to use you have to charcoal mellow which back in Jack's day was known as the Lincoln County process right he'll learn that from Nearest and that's how he gets his start in making whiskey so the interesting thing about the Lincoln County process is that it's attributed to Uncle Nearest in some ways and it was attributed to to Jack at one point but isn't it a process that also was probably being used by other people around that time like whiskey rectifiers people like that yeah the whole idea of using charcoal or carbon to clean a whiskey or to purify a spirit is not that whole general idea is not unique to Jack Daniel's the method and time in which we employ it is pretty unique there's some people who are doing some rectifying at different parts in the process I know that a lot a lot of whiskeys today will use carbon in a filtering process to maybe remove some calcium some things that might cause a whiskey to flock right so and rectifiers used it the unique thing that Jack Daniel's did is right off the still to run run the whiskey through ten feet of sugar and maple charcoal it's that entire process that was unique to Jack Daniel's and attributable you know did Nearest invent it we don't know but the story is told that African-American slaves in this area developed it and that it was first employed by a distillery that no longer exists a distiller by the name of Alfred Eaton it said back in the 1820s he was using this process and that it that it people generally agree that it was something that was learned from the slaves who were actually making the whiskey right so the interesting thing about the Uncle Nearest story is the time period because this was still before the Civil War correct yes this is before the Civil War and and like I said you know Jack would have learned that process the Lincoln County process from Nearest and he would have worked at his side this is all before the Civil War and at one point Jack and Nearest are left in charge with Dan Call off to fight the war so they're really you know working side by side and deciding what's going to be done why Dan Call is gone so once Dan Call comes back

there's a kind of a religious movement that's going on and it's in the wake of a war which so many people died and religious spirit you know really took over and and it totally makes sense why people were quite aware of their own mortality and so there's this wave of preaching that's going on and it comes to Lynchburg and the preacher kind of convinces the congregation that you know Dan Call needs to take up one of his religious of his spiritual pursuits but not both he can either make whiskey right and or he can preach and Dan's wife agrees so that makes it really hard so Dan Call will sell his distillery to Jack and so Jack will take over this distillery establish it with the federal government in 1866 but this distillery he establishes in 1866 is on that Dan Call property okay is now was it actually called the call and Daniel there's some disagreement you know Dan and Call that is a distillery out there and that's a partnership between Dan Call and Jack Daniel's right but at some point Jack completely takes over the distillery so this is an entirely different operation or I don't whether it ran it coincided with that or ran separately or it's an evolution of that we're not entirely sure because they give another date also I hear 1875 sometimes thrown around 1875 is a date that we can point to in the books yeah with Dan and co Daniel and Call but the 1866 date predates that and is the date of the establishment you'll see that and different people will dispute that we don't have any records that would say that's the date right but it's the date we've always had handed down since Jack himself and so until we can find proof that it's absolutely not that date yeah we're going to stick with what we have it's that challenge of when you can't even get his birth date out of him straight and and the time when there weren't I mean being the first registered distillery it tells you there there was no real formalization of distilleries up to this time past the Civil War it's interesting you know the whole idea of taxing whiskey or deciding to

ask distillers to license themselves is really an outcome of war I mean we know the Whiskey Rebellion and the tax on whiskey was to help pay off the revolutionary war and that this whiskey tax that was instituted or the you know licensing process that was instituted was something that was done by Abraham Lincoln and by the government to pay for the Civil War right so in both those cases but the 1866 is the date that we've always had but you're right I mean there is no record of what day and year Jack's born people make a big deal some well certainly had a birth certificate well at the time birth certificates weren't mandatory and there was something you had to pay for so not everybody had a birth certificate and you know there's been a story that's been circulated well the courthouse burned down well the courthouse that Jack's birth certificate would have been housed in which is Lincoln County didn't burn down that so well and the other place that you go me knowing from my dad's genealogy research is our churches but do we even know what church yes we do Jack would be a primitive baptist okay but there's no christening of Jack at an early age or any record like that but he becomes a primitive baptist towards the end of his life and you know he's noted for having contributed to the building of most every church in the county with the exception of one that wouldn't take any money from a distiller when they were building their church so the 1866 date is a date that's been handed down much like Jack's birth if we can find documents that will change that we'll be compelled to go but until that day we're we're sticking with 1866. so 1871 is the year that Lincoln Moore County that Moore County became a county it was taken from parts of three counties from what I understand one being Lincoln County when did the name Lincoln County process get attached was it anywhere ever talked about back then or was it more of a modern kind of a name no the Lincoln County process name is a name that comes out of the time of Jack and lamb when there was it would have come out of the time before my more counties so it had been prior to 1870 okay because it's the Lincoln County process because that's the county in which it's used and you know in Jack's day there may have been as many as 15 distillers all using the same process but we have an 1896 Nashville American newspaper story that's written about it's it's actually printed verbatim in this Jack Daniel's legacy book they print the entire story in this book but you can you know today you can get that online you can find the 1896 Nashville American and in that article it talks about the many people who are using this process but the Jack's whiskey is better and the reason it's better is because he changes the charcoal out more often and you know charcoal will lose its ability to absorb any more oils or what it's taking out of the whiskey it'll lose that ability in time and Jack would change out his whiskey which we know today I mean it's more than a million dollars every year that's just focuses on paying for the charcoal mellowing process so back in Jack's day the way people might cut a corner is to continue to let the charcoal stay in the vats even after it's lost its ability to filter the whiskey okay and then we talk about the Uncle Nearest story and you mentioned this book is this book really the first time that anybody in the 20th century or 21st century really started paying attention to the or knew of the Uncle Nearest story you know in Jack's day in London's day for years here at the distillery and back in the early early days it would have naturally been a part of the story the Greens you know Jack when he moves to this location somewhere between 1881 and 1885 we know he buys it in 1884. so at that point we're absolutely sure he's here but he could have come as early as 1881 those years were still looking at Fawn Weaver has helped us a lot in researching that it's something that she's interested in too and the reason she's interested in is because Nearest will not make the trip to this location okay he'll stay at the Dan Call farm yeah but is a freed man when Jack establishes distillery in 1866 near screen would be his very first master distiller that's something that Fawn Weaver that's a piece of information that Fawn Weaver has helped us put together and we officially recognized in 2017 so Nearest Green is our very first master distiller he's a free man with Jack Jack never had slaves but he'll come to this property Nearest we don't know why never makes the trip but his two sons will and so George and Eli Green who had befriended Jack there at the Dan Call farm will become his first employees of the Green family here on this property and there's been a Green a member of that family working on this property and even when we moved to St Louis members of the Green family we went yeah ever since to this day that are members of that family that's brand loyalty oh well yeah I think that's that loyalty flows two ways I mean the Daniel family the Motlows were extremely loyal to the to the Green family and and vice versa and so even today there are Greens there we have three members of the Green family that are working here at the Jack Daniel distillery and I mean there's more representation of the Green family to date in town than there is of the Jack Daniel's family working at the distillery there's a member of the Motlow Daniel family that lives in England her name is Jennifer Motlow Powell and she continues to work for Jack Daniel's in the UK okay Jack Daniel's came along in a very interesting time because of the temperance movement especially in Tennessee it seemed to be pretty hot here at points the I was at the Tennessee Temperance Alliance in 1885 was setting out to try to get the state into full Prohibition by that time but couldn't do it so they decided just to go county by county and with that situation what was going on here in Moore County was there concern about what was going to be coming down the road or did Moore County kind of hold out for a long period of time before they got sucked into the Prohibition fervor well the laws were changing throughout Tennessee you know that that movement you're right interestingly enough this is august of 2020 and we're celebrating in Tennessee in fact yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the signing of or the ratifying in Tennessee of the 19th amendment which allowed women to vote right and the suffragette movement and the Prohibition movement were entwined the Prohibition movement largely was a woman's movement because of what overindulgence was doing to you know the productivity of a family the the ability to bring home a check with you know the rate of keeping a family together over consumption of alcohol really exacerbated those kinds of problems and so the suffragette and the Prohibition movement were were lockstep and so they have success with you know changing the laws and we go through Prohibition and so you know the vote for women comes next but here here in Moore County it was it was facing the same things the rest of Tennessee where was there were different kinds of laws that you know would say within a you couldn't make whiskey or sell whiskey within so certain location of a school right it's those kind of laws that they need to chip away over time and so it's not until a famous gun battle in the streets of Nashville that it tips the scale so let's set that story up because it's very interesting it involves a U.S. senator who became a newspaper man and another newspaper man and a lot of tension in the air over this idea of what counties dry counties and which way Tennessee was going to go yeah you're talking of course of Duncan Cooper and Edward Carmack both newspaper people also both politicians Carmack will be a politician and he's on the dry side of the aisle and Duncan will be on the west side of the aisle politician and a competing newspaper person as well so they have both those things going on and you know Carmack Edward Carmack has been mentioning Duncan Cooper in his editorials he's been calling him out yeah and Cooper just essentially tells him look there's going to be trouble if you mention my name one more time in your newspaper well Carmack does and so it's in November of I believe 1908 November of 1908. interestingly enough the Hermitage Hotel which will play such an important part in the suffragette movement that's where both the anti and pro suffrage delegations will house themselves it's right near the capitol so apparently you know the Coopers are kind of looking as men will do Duncan Cooper's there with his son Robin Cooper and they're kind of looking at the construction of this hotel and lo and behold Duncan looks up the road and sees just a block away there's Edward Carmack and you know they've had this exchange if you print my name one more time well he's printed his name so Duncan Cooper charges up the hill Robin his son is a little behind him there's another gentleman that's also making this walk with them and there's a Mrs Charles Eastman and she's important she's up where where Edward Carmack is standing and she'll provide a lot of the blow by blow that will come out in the murder trial so you know Duncan Cooper says that Edward Carmack's kind of a coward because he's standing behind a woman you know she just happened to be there so Carmack comes out and allegedly shoots the first shots okay he will fire three times and Robin Cooper will return the fire the son of Duncan Cooper will stand in front of his father and return the fire with two shots he actually got hit correct yes yes Robin Cooper apparently shielding his father will get hit from Carmack fire but Carmack will get hit and die even though he fires the first shot he becomes the martyr and even before the trial is done the legislators have kind of teamed up and they've decided you know this is such a public act one interesting thing is that you know Carmack editor at the tennis what will become the Tennessean today yeah and that was a struggling paper well it it becomes an important paper survives to this day whereas the competitive papers disappeared disappeared yeah disappeared so you know that that gun battle did a little bit for the fortunes of the Tennessean but not so much the editor so the editor is gunned down the legislature will decide we need to go dry Malcolm Patterson who is a friend of the Coopers also wet he was actually the guy that beat Carmack in the primary right just earlier and Carmack was dry and Patterson was wet you know most politicians are going to be wet just because of the tax revenue that that whiskey will generate but Malcolm Patterson vetoes this move to make the state dry but there's enough legislative they're they're able to overturn that veto and the state goes dry and interestingly enough we have a speakeasy in Nashville that's called the Patterson House named after the governor who vetoed that vote but then was over you know the the legislature's they totally overturned his veto and the state goes dry so he's gunned down the state goes dry interestingly enough because he was a member a former both state senator and state congressman the legislature also have a statue erected to Edward Carmack that stood until just I believe I'm not sure exactly when it was taken down was taken down this year during the George Floyd protests yeah yeah and it was he as I understand that Carmack was kind of a prickly character he was and there was definitely he had really been responsible Ida B. Wells Ida B. Wells is important in the suffrage movement but she's important in the Civil Rights Movement as well she has a newspaper in Memphis and really does what he can to put her out of business and so he has some you know racial background that would cause people to go let's take the statute down right and it was it was torn down it wasn't didn't go through any you know of the legal process for doing that but it was torn down and it's remained down but that kind of comes full circle on some of that story it's interesting that Jack Daniel died the year that Tennessee went into Prohibition well they'll actually go the gun battles in 1908 it doesn't go dry until 1909 right and so Jack well Jack he will die in 1911. 1911 you're right and then but he gives up control of his distillery in 1907. and so that was something that I wanted to ask about because we any of us that have done the tour have seen the safe yep and the whole story behind Jack Daniel's comes in one morning he's forgotten the combination of the safe one more time he kicks it he gets gangrene or complications from this toe injury that he has and he dies so we we get the impression that he just died right away but he he didn't actually he lived quite a few years after that's right that's right and in fact I think in his death certificate it may say that it was the result of the surgery that killed him one of his many surgeries yeah and yes he will kick the he'll kick the safe and I believe 1906. and in 1907 he'll deed his distillery over to Lem and another nephew Lem Motlow and Jack Daniel well he'll do that because he can no longer perform as being in charge of the distillery he can't do that anymore because he's pretty much laid up he will kick the safe and break his big toe and not really do anything about it I'm not sure anything could have been done about it but along the way he'll get some kind of infection and blood poisoning from gangrene well the way to take care of it is they amputate the toe well it's spreading so a series of three operations and by the end of this they've taken off his entire leg and he is totally bedridden at that point and then he will finally succumb and die in 1911. all of this comes originally from kicking the safe it but it wasn't the death wasn't instantaneous it took some time it took some time it was the result really of the spread of the gangrene and probably the surgeries overcoming or recuperating from you know those serious serious surgeries at a time when health care was not at its finest we'll put it that way so where was Jack Daniel's in terms of its popularity at the turn of the century then was it I think we take for granted now that it's a worldwide brand that is recognized in any corner of the planet you go to but where was it at around turn the century you know in 1896 when they write that national American story they're calling it the finest whiskey in Tennessee in Jack's day it would not have been the biggest whiskey being produced in the state of Tennessee but it's a very popular whiskey and one of the reasons it's no bigger than it is in Jack's day is he refuses to make to mash more than 99 bushels a day and says it's because if he mashes more a day he'll have to have another government man on the property and he's not a big fan of that yeah so he caps it he's the wealthiest man in the area he has a mansion with an upstairs ballroom by all reports he will buy the very first motor car in the county and so Jack's living a really good life and so he just caps it at 99 bushels it's lamb who really propels Jack Daniel's but even in limbs day it was nothing more because most of most of lamb's time period making whiskey was during Prohibition and he wasn't making whiskey yeah the distillery was shut down at this location for something like 29 years and so lamb doesn't really have much time to make whiskey before he'll pass away in 1947. so he moved the distillery at one point was this he moved it to St. Louis when he moved it to St Louis about what time period was that was that immediately after Tennessee went into Prohibition yes he'll move to St Louis he'll build a distillery there in fact you can find some old bottles that will say St Louis on them I know there's some old Belle of Lincoln bottles that say St Louis on them so anyhow he'll move the distillery to St Louis he'll have a fire in St Louis okay now he's also operating a distillery and he'll move a lot of this operation but he's got a brother in Alabama named spoon Motlow Frank like I told you everyone's got a name right Frank spoon Motlow he'll he'll move down there after the distillery burns and then Alabama will go dry so he'll go back to St Louis yeah then when national Prohibition kicks in he'll totally get out of distilling he was selling harnesses or something like that oh he'll do several things so he comes back to Tennessee and even while he's operating in St Louis he's on the train back and forth between Tennessee and St Louis so he'll come back to Tennessee and he'll raise Tennessee walking horses he'll sell mules he will he's got a big farm that he'll sell produce he will also have a hardware store on the square he'll do all of these things just to keep and he does it under the name Jack Daniel his company name remains never changed Jack Daniel lemmont low proprietor this is really important because when we when the when the country comes out of Prohibition in 1933 Tennessee stays dry it doesn't go wet and so when the country comes out of Prohibition in 1933 lamb can't get started again so he'll run for office go to the state house as a legislator and introduce legislation that will allow the people of Moore County to vote whether they want to be wet or dry whether they want the distillery to open yeah so Moore County will vote because they want the jobs they'll vote the distillery open they won't vote the county dry and so when he starts back in operation in 1938 and interestingly enough the barrels that you see on that wall that are just the ends of the barrels those are the first barrels that were put into storage or into the barrel house back in November of 38 wow when Lem Motlow gets back into making whiskey but when he doesn't open up in 33 there's a New York company that starts using the name Jack Daniel Lem is able to fight them in court and win because he has never stopped using the name and we're awfully glad for foresight yeah to do that yeah so hearing the story about Prohibition and I'm well aware of what was happening in Kentucky with that now this is happening in Tennessee 10 years earlier what happened to all the whiskey that was here were were they still allowed to sell it out of state at that point or how did they get rid of the surplus whiskey that they now had aging there's there's a couple of things that happen so you know we had a distributor here in town or in Nashville the distribution for Jack Daniel's came out of Nashville they moved to Kentucky and no they moved to Indiana Evansville Indiana and so some of the sales went out of this the state when we go dry in this state in St Louis in 1919 when the country is going through the beginnings of what will be Prohibition and Lem Motlow will come he will sell his whiskey stock he may have kept some for personal use but he will sell his whiskey's stock he has a warehouse in St Louis that he will sell so he lets go of his whiskey yes okay he's not continuing during Prohibition yeah if you're seeing any Jack Daniel's after U.S. Prohibition it may be something that's being sold by somebody who bought those stocks right but Lem Motlow will get out of the whiskey business okay yeah because I know a lot of times it was either sell it off to somebody who had medicinal licenses but you've never seen a medicinal bottle of Jack Daniel's no not not from post-Prohibition to my knowledge I think there was some licensing that was going on to I mean you can find a bottle of Jack Daniel's but I think this is coming the time period between 33 and 38. out of Clermont Kentucky

that's Jack Daniel's interesting yeah so Jim Beam was I think there was a licensing of the name that was going on then when Lem was trying to get back into business but wasn't making the whiskey but that's a short time period if you find that label yeah it's extremely extremely cool to see yes you know the marriage of the two big whiskey makers in America right there well your your close proximity competition here of course George Dickel went to Louisville to the Shively plant up there and so it's interesting to see then it ended up at where buffalo trace is at now so you can see it as a Kentucky whiskey rather than as a as a Tennessee whiskey but bringing that full circle back to after Lem Motlow passed away and I'm supposing the family the Motlow family was still holding on to the distillery at the time Schinley came along and was interested in buying Jack Daniel's was that a friendly ask we'd like to buy you or was that kind of a push to do so Schinley had come along and they had tried to buy Jack Daniel's more than once but 1956 the Motlow brothers were getting older back in that day there was there were no male heirs and back that day you it wasn't thought well we can continue on in the distilling business with a female heir it just it wasn't part of what the conversation was in that day today it would be an entirely different story and we'd be glad of it but in 56 that was going on so the Motlows were wanting to to make sure the the Jack Daniel's continued there was also you know the bank owned part of the business so there may have been some monetary pressure there and they had several offers in fact the offer that comes from shinley is bigger than the offer that they get from Brown-Forman but the Browns in Louisville Kentucky it's a family-controlled business we're more of the same mind and spirit and attitude than the schillings of New York you know that business in New York City entirely different thing so because of that the Motlows will sell to Brown-Forman in 1956. and interesting that it was during that same time period that George Dickel came back in because Schinley wanted to they're like well we didn't get this from Jack Daniel's so we'll just compete with them that's exactly you know there's a real nice you you have to travel to St. Louis into Alabama and stay with the Motlow family but there's still a straight line from the beginning to today with Jack Daniel's not so much with Dickel I mean it comes back in 1956 but exactly how you said yes it's been gone for a long time and it comes back really as a way to compete with Jack Daniel's yeah very interesting so now that we've gotten into modern times the the one thing that I remember about Jack Daniel's is that when it was Sinatra's favorite whiskey it was at 90 proof and there was a Green Label and I believe the Green Label was at 80 proof well you know interestingly enough yeah you know Jack Daniel's was 90 proof but it wasn't 90 proof everywhere okay you know outside the U.S. it might be a lower proof there were different proofs in Canada it was 80 proof so it was 90 proof in the U.S. yeah but it was different proof around the world was it sold at different proofs earlier on with what Jack Daniel's was making and I always put an s on the end of his name when I say his name because yeah so easy to do and I pride you too his name is Jack Daniel the distillery a lot of people get this wrong is the Jack Daniel distillery the product itself is Jack Daniel apostrophe yes so yeah a lot of people say Jack Daniel's and they're referring to the man yeah so was it sold at different proofs earlier we don't entirely know all the time what proof he was selling it I mean he sold many different labels he probably had as many labels as we have today back in Jack and Lem's day it did we know he had a bottled in bond so that would be 100 proof and 90 proof was pretty much the standard as it traveled around the world to be competitive with other whiskeys which were 80 proof it was at 80 proof in some cases local laws mandated at proof and so when we went to 80 proof in large it was essentially a way to have a consistent proof around the world okay was that there was a little backlash about that though at one point there was some backlash but the fact that we have Jack Daniel's at 94 proof and at other proofs I think that allows people who are looking for a higher proof product to enjoy Jack Daniel's that 94 proof you can buy single barrel if you want the purest form of Jack Daniel's that would be Jack Daniel's single barrel at barrel proof right I mean it is filtered to get some of the char that was in the barrel out yeah but it's what the proof that it came out of the barrel so you can find barrel proof whiskey at you know 127 or 132 or 131. it's however it's the proof it came out of the barrel so that's really the purest expression of Jack Daniel's there is and so by what time did all of a sudden this explosion of different types of of Jack Daniel's start to evolve I know there's a I remember somebody coming into the office I was working in at the time and bringing in Tennessee Honey and I'd never heard of a flavored whiskey at that time there's a lot of things that are going on so in 1980 up until 1980 you know you mentioned Frank Sinatra when Frank discovered Jack Daniel's other than Jack Daniel himself

Frank Sinatra has done more to grow the brand than any single person outside of Jack in working with Nearest when when Sinatra discovers it and starts talking about it from the stage all of a sudden our sales go to okay we can make enough whiskey too sales are 100 over what we can make now this happens in the 1960s you can't immediately catch up right to that kind of age your whiskey yeah you got to continue to mature it Jack Daniel starts running ads that say this we would rather ask for your patience than your forgiveness that was the headline and what they meant was we're not going to change the way we make it so you're going to have to be patient but we'd rather have you do that than have to ask for your forgiveness because we'd cut corners and messed it up right they don't cut corners Frank Bobo who will be master distiller back in those times before he passed away we would have many conversations in which you'd say did they change anything he said well we changed the footprint we put in a lot more fermentors and a lot more charcoal mellowing vats and we put in additional stills but we never changed the way it was made the quality of the corn remained the same all of that and so we go from the late 1950s early 60s till almost 1980 in allocation I mean it was the Pappy Van Winkle in allocation today and that's you know that people might argue that is a contrived this was not contrived we were just trying to keep up right from those early days to almost 1980. so in 1980 all of a sudden we had more whiskey than we'd sold so we had additional whiskey in the barrel houses so all of a sudden we could start thinking about well what else can we do and so in 1988 Jack Daniel's introduces the very first whiskey in more than a century new whiskey that it's introduced and that's Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack and the only difference between Jack Daniel's black label Old No. 7 and Gentleman Jack is that it's picked from places in the warehouse where you know the very first thing that a whiskey picks up are the sweet notes from the wood and then the oak comes after so there's a little more sweetness to this whiskey and it's charcoal mellow twice once right when it comes off the still just like Old No. 7 is then it goes through a second less less charcoal in the second pass because if you put it through the same 10 feet of charcoal you can strip out all the color and a lot of the flavor you don't want to do that right so it's a lighter touch the second time but it's that light touch that makes it Gentleman Jack very smooth whiskey and that was introduced in 1988 so flash forward to today we were able to we continue to grow and add capacity there are more people interested in American whiskey and they come from different parts in the spectrum in terms of aficionado to just a person dabbling in whiskey for the first time because there's so many more people in the the whiskey arena and they have very different palettes it really allows for a lot of different expressions I mean today we have a higher proof Jack Daniel than we had back in Sinatra's day in the 94 proof single barrel and it's an expression of Jack Daniel's we didn't even have in Sinatra's day it is the whiskey from a single barrel up until the introduction of single barrel only a master distiller or a distiller could te or a taster could tell you about what single barrel was like yeah the public never experienced that tasting individual barrels and realizing each barrel has its own character and taste ranges from very vanilla and and soft to very oaky and and a little more challenging and then a lot of places in between so when we introduced Jack Daniel's single barrel all of a sudden the public could now taste the difference from barrel to barrel the one that I'm most envious of the one that every time I go on a flight somewhere overseas and I come back and I see it in the duty free but I can't buy it because I gotta lay over here there and I only carry a bag with me is the Bottled in Bond the bottle inbound yeah it's as I said you know Jack Daniel's had a bottle and bond whiskey back when bottle and bond was introduced really to protect it was at a time when people were adding things to whiskey you weren't entirely sure it's one of the early food safety acts that takes place and that's the act that created Bottled in Bond whiskey and you knew exactly what you were getting it was going to be 100 proof it was going to come from a single source single distillery was not going to move around and you didn't know what you're getting so we introduced that and right now it's only available as you say travel retail you can get it you know duty-free shops around the world you will eventually see that come to the us Sinatra at one time was only available it was introduced at a can for our travel retail and about a year later it made it to U.S. retail the same was true of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Gold that was available in China it was available in travel retail today you can you can find you know the Jack Daniel's Tennessee Gold there is hope yes but a very very good whiskey yeah so did the Sinatra ever try Gentleman Jack or did it was he very loyal to Old No. 7 he was very loyal to Old No. 7 he did receive you know Gentleman Jack when it was introduced but he was extremely loyal to Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 you know we never this was in the days he was maybe the original influencer for us because you have to think about it back in Sinatra's day we didn't have all this different types of media what we did have was television well he was on television we did have you know Las Vegas well he was big in Las Vegas he was big in the radio he was big in recording he's making movies he was making movies so in every available media of the day Sinatra was not just in it but he was big in wherever he appeared and on the stage he would talk about Jack Daniel's and he would say this is the nectar of the gods and that's something you really couldn't buy right there was even one year late late in his career when a competing distillery company got to his management signed Sinatra up for a year to represent their whiskey when this happened a gentleman by the name of julie called Angela Lucasi he was the person a salesman dedicated to making sure Frank had his whiskey he gets a call from jillian jilly says Angelo the chairman being Frank the chairman wants me to tell you a leopard doesn't change its spots and by that by that Angelo was to take even though he had to talk about another whiskey from the stage it was Jack Daniel's in his class wow Frank apparently was never happy about that particular contract and as soon as he was able to break it he did you know he would live he was a man of his word and he would do what he would live by a contract but he was he was always drinking Jack Daniel's and that comes from Sinatra himself so and he's buried with a bottle of it he is buried with a bottle of Jack Daniel's a pack of camels a bottle of Jack Daniel's and a roll of dimes we know that's true because Angelo Lucasi his personal sales person making sure he had whiskey because you got to remember it was hard to get Jack Daniel's and Sinatra was traveling the world and he wanted to have Jack Daniel's wherever he went so on his private plane Angelo was responsible for making sure wherever he went there was whiskey if he was going out of the country that the whiskey was traveling with him and so it traveled with him even when he left this life and Angelo was seated with the family and saw the bottle being given to Frank in that in that final moment so do you know what the dimes were for you know there's a lot of controversy surrounding what were the dimes for I kind of liked the story that it was calling his friends now you got to remember Sinatra as head of the second Rat Pack most people forget that the first Rat Pack was Humphrey Bogarts and Humphrey Bogart was a huge fan of Jack Daniel's and so was Lauren Bacall Lauren Bacall was the first tennis female Tennessee Squire and it's because she was such a loyal fan of Jack Daniel's and she gives the Rat Pack its name she calls them a lousy pack of rats and it's stuck you know and so Bogart will introduce Sinatra to the Rat Pack it's it's great that Jack Daniel's was part of the original Rat Pack and will remain a part of the Rat Pack under Frank Sinatra yeah but it's a kind of a the Rat Pack was kind of this roving cocktail party after the concert was over you know Sinatra would stay up late into his night and he would call friends to come be part of the party this is before cell phones and so a dime at the time is what you needed to have to call your friends so the story that I'm most fond of says that he has the role of dimes so he continued to call his friends nice yeah that's the one I've heard too that's and I'm thinking he didn't take inflation into account or cell phones yeah maybe there's even better means of communication yeah yeah you brought up one other thing too that I had just recently heard of that I didn't know about which is the Tennessee Squires how did that come about and describe what that is sure the Tennessee Squire association is a program that was introduced because of allocation back in the 1950s it is introduced as a loyalty program and what happened was in 1956 when you couldn't get Jack Daniel's in the late 50s they institute this program in which they're keeping their loyal customers informed of you know as we move to another state we have more allocation we'll let our friends know it's available and to reward them for their loyalty we couldn't give them whiskey because there wasn't enough but we could give them one square at the origins it was one square foot it became one square inch over time with the number of fans that we have so if you were a loyal drinker of Jack Daniel's you were given a deed to one square inch of property here in the Jack Daniel's hollow and a property owner is known as a Squire okay a Squire is a title that's all about land ownership so you became a Tennessee Squire lbj was a Tennessee Squire we got a call from the Russian embassy or from the Russians at one point asking one of the premiers one of the heads of Russia had died and they were calling to see what this one square inch of property was worth nice Lauren Bacall was a Tennessee Squire so we continue that program today unlike many loyalty programs it's not about if you're a loyal Tennessee Squire we're going to give you certain things it's not about selling whiskey yeah it's always been about friendship it was about keeping people from being frustrated because they couldn't find Jack Daniel's yeah so we're going to stay in contact with them and so you'll receive letters once a year you'll receive a calendar but it's more about relationship and less about inducements or the letters are actually kind of funny one of the ones that I saw was something about a cow mishap that happened on the property yeah we might have a cow might break out of a fence and come and be on your property you might have taxes assessed on your property and get a a letter from the tax assessor about that but yeah there's it's a lot of fun it's good natured it's about friendship you know really we talked about Frank Sinatra we talked about Nearest and Jack there's a whole the story of friendship is woven throughout this brand going back to the days of Jack you know it's it's kind of people will kind of look at you ascance when you say Nearest and Jack were friends because of the time period and of the situation but that's something you know Fawn Weaver who's helped do she's she has really poured herself and put plenty of resources against the reese there's some things that happened to lead us to believe it was more than just a mentorship there a couple of things Nearest was a big fan of music he was a fiddle player and he would often play the fiddle and Dan Call would call the dance yeah you know in square dance kind of thing Jack Daniel's would become a huge fan of music he'll have an upstairs ballroom he'll outfit a band music has always been an important part of Jack Daniel's that might have been something he learned from Nearest along with whiskey making Nearest was quite a storyteller it said Jack was a big storyteller and still to this day it's the stories around Jack Nearest Lynchburg about how the whiskey's made what does Old No. 7 stand for it's a it's a brand built on storytelling goes back to Jack may even go back to Nearest Nearest children one generation from their father being an enslaved man at the dancehall farm their children who who worked Nearest children Eli in in George who worked at the Nearest Green will become some of the biggest property owners in Lynchburg becomes a very prosperous family and when lamb takes the distillery to St Louis he'll take some of the Greens with him and only in this modern time will those two parts of the family be re-introduced Fawn Weaver will contact as she's researching Nearest Green will find members of the family in St Louis and reconnect the Tennessee family and the Missouri family wow it's part of the work that she's done with her product Uncle Nearest premium whiskey yeah and the Uncle Nearest distillery nice so let's answer that question as best we possibly can what does Old No. 7 stand for wow beyond the you know beyond the friendship side of things where did the term Old No. 7 originate from well I mean if you read the Jack Daniel's legacy book you'll learn that family had told the story that Jack had a friend who he really admired who had seven pharmacies well it would make sense that Jack had a friend who was a pharmacist because they would have sold whiskey back in the day so this friend had seven pharmacies and so Jack liked that number seven and that's what that's one story yeah we've heard we've heard that he had seven Jack never married but we have love letters and we know he had girlfriends yeah some people say well his seventh girlfriend was his favorite well that would explain why Jack never married because if you called a whiskey named after your favorite girlfriend Old No. 7 you're probably not gonna marry yeah probably I have some people who said it was seventh batch some people said it was just you know lucky number seven there's stories about a train shipping number that was number seven and someone wanted some more of that Old No. 7 that was shipped to them I heard that they were going to use seven as the number for the register registration number for the distillery but they chose something else but he liked seven so he stuck with seven at one point the distillery is in district number seven and the gentleman who wrote the only other book about Jack Daniel's I'm aware of blood and whiskey the life and times of Jack Daniel's Peter Krass he will say without a doubt it's because of that tax district number oh it's number seven well guess what truth of the matter is nobody knows because Jack never left us any definitive answer to that question and he's not telling anybody so so the other piece of this Uncle Nearest story is that you are actually working along with Jack Daniel's is working along with Uncle Nearest on a new initiative can you talk a little bit about that yeah there's something called the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative and it was started here recently this year it's a joint relationship between the Jack Daniel's distillery and the Uncle Nearest distillery in Shelbyville and they've come together you know we really want to advance more diversity in whiskey making and part of the thing that allows you to do that is having a ready pool of talent to rise up in whiskey well the talent's just not there or hasn't been there and so this initiative is really to take people who are interested in making whiskey African-American individuals who may already be part of whiskey making but advance them into the higher levels of that career and so in order to really create the pool in interest this this initiative was started and so there's it's really got three parts one of those parts is just to educate people about distilling and that's the Uncle Nearest school of dis distilling that's through Motlow College interestingly enough it has the name of Motlow because it was the Motlow family that donated the property that the head you know the main campus sits on yeah just down the road from here but it's one of the fastest growing universities in Tennessee and so they will handle training people how to be distillers and so the Nearest Green School of this or the Uncle Nearest school of distilling that will the Nearest Green School of distilling rather that will be the training part of this the educational arm where we can give scholarships to people and learn how to make whiskey in that way then there's another thing that's called the Leadership Acceleration Program that's for people that's for African-American individuals that are already in the whiskey making trade but are looking to be part of leadership positions those would be things like a production manager or someone who heads maturation which is the aging of whiskey or somebody who might want to be a head distiller so we'll take people and provide them with opportunities and we're we're picking two individuals that right at this very moment to give them additional opportunities where they can learn these different roles and ultimately be advanced to those kinds of positions and then there's finally it's called the business incubation program and that's where we're finding people who are already out there African-Americans who are already out making whiskey and it's a mentorship program and those that receive this mentorship will learn about all aspects they may have a small craft distillery but they can learn more about distribution they can learn more about the business of marketing their whiskey about creating new products and together Uncle Nearest and Jack Daniel's have contributed five million dollars to fund this program and to get it off the ground to provide these you know people that want to learn who are already in the whiskey making business and want to learn more providing seed funds and and offering them scholarships apprenticeships that will allow them to advance and really create we think all of distilling is going to really benefit not just Jack Daniel's Uncle Nearest but all of distilling because of the lack of diversity the lack of folks out there that can be a part of so many great operations and so that's the beginning of all this that's and I've seen this with my research on women in the distilling interest that it's it's coming at this thing we call whiskey from a completely different angle it's people have different experiences with it people have different things innovations that they can bring in from their own backgrounds and it's amazing how much whiskey has changed just over the last 25 years because of more women's involvement so It's it's definitely great to see this this push to say let's not just be the same old thing that we've been yes there's there's a place for that but there's also a place to expand and see where we can take this you know the interesting thing about it is we're almost coming full circle

Nearest Green who operated the Dan Call distillery as its head distiller now has a distillery just down the road with his name on it I think I think Jack Daniel the man would be very very proud that that happened and that and then an innovation a charcoal mellowing that came from African-American slaves now here we come back to today and there's a program to bring more diversity into whiskey making that will bring I believe additional innovation like you said because of diverse backgrounds looking at whiskey making so that's kind of coming back full circle too and it's nice to see that is a good time for all of this to be happening we've got a lot of energy in this country around diversity and I think it's just a great time to be in the distilling business or to be looking at distilling as a future if you're a young person right we really appreciate what Fawn Weaver has done for a number of reasons I mean some people would look at this and go aren't they a competitor you you know if you look at it from a business standpoint you might think so but there's more to be gained by coming together and doing things like the Nearest and Jack initiative there's more to be gained by working together we have a shared history in Nearest Green we share that same dna and then she has brought an entirely different point of view she's looked at this whole story a different way that's helped open our eyes and educate us she's she's willing to share the research that she's done she's very open and we've we've done that back and forth we helped share documents with her that helped us to both she first and us next to realize that the near screen was our first master distiller to really recognize that but that willingness to share to to look beyond competition and say you know both of these distilleries both these whiskeys can grow that the world is big enough and wide enough for two great Tennessee whiskeys right I think that's been been enormously helpful for everyone it's it's not been a divisive kind of relationship in a world where these kinds of things can be very divisive and that's been that's been really satisfying I think for everybody involved but this photograph this photograph is really an indication that something was going on back in Jack's day that we really hadn't fully tapped into so in the 1990s the Daniel family has this photograph and they bring it to Jack Daniel and ask us if we're interested in it and it's it's the only crew shot we've got some individual shots of Jack but there was no shot of Jack Daniel's crew and this shot was it it was taken probably at the turn of the century you can see some some gray and Jack's beard and there's a couple of interesting things about the photograph first of all everybody is seated except for maybe some gentleman at the back and Jack Jack is standing it lets you know he's really five foot two and he's always he was sitting yeah yeah everyone else has seated I guess so that he doesn't look small but he's standing at five foot two that's one interesting thing about the photo that Jack's standing in it the other interesting thing about the photo is the gentleman to Jack in the photograph he's two Jacks immediately his left it's to the right if you look at it but it's to Jack's left to his immediate left is an African-American gentleman and that would have been highly unusual in the American south at the turn of the century that would have been unusual to have an African-American immediately to your left and they're not on the edge of the picture they're right in the center right in the center of the photograph yeah that's unusual so who is that guy when we saw the photograph you know that raises but we didn't know yeah so it takes Fawn Weaver coming along talking to the Green family to finally get that person identified as one of the sons of Nearest Green that's George Green and he's side by side with Jack Daniel's in that photograph and in the center of the photograph yeah so there was a statement being made and the truth of the matter is as the Green family has been interviewed that you know back in the Motlow days in those days

what you were paid at the Jack Daniel distillery was determined by your seniority and not by your race and you know that's something we can be proud of and should be proud of and it's something we honor and that Fawn honors in the name of Nearest Green in the name of Jack in the Nearest and Jack initiative it's going to say in an era of a lot of focus on the bad news it's good to have those shining examples to have those shining examples and we hope people will look at it that way when the story was first introduced there was some controversy because the word slave was used in the title but as people delved deeper into the story and really began to understand the relationship between Nearest and Jack it really is a story of friendship it's a story of honor it's a story of you know it's funny there's an old timer at least one old timer who suggested that the way Nearest got his nickname is because he was always the guy that was closest to Jack and that's how he got his nickname we don't know if that's the truth or not but we sure do benefit today from the legacy those two men left behind beautiful well thank you so much I appreciate all that you've uncovered for us and again such a rich history here that I know we've only touched on just a portion of it you know in a day and age when there's many new labels that crop up every year and it's a story there's a you know whiskey and stories I mean they go hand in hand and so every time you have a new brand you have a new story of it's an old new story usually but at Jack Daniel's there are more stories than you can imagine that haven't with a 150 plus years of history with the quirkiness of Prohibition and being in a dry county today it's moist it's moist you can have a taste at the distillery and you can find some beer being served in town today so I call it moist and that dry and actually if you look there are it's three categories now it's dry it's moist and it's you know everything's available yeah yeah so where do you go eat in town you know there are a number of places it depends on what I want there's we're known for barbecue in this town and so there's a couple of there's one barbecue place right on the square there's a barbecue place right off the square they're both really good don't want to show any favoritism here yet I hear you we support them all equally because in a town this size yeah we're happy to have every restaurant we can get yeah it was it was funny years ago at the end of the year the the local newspaper does its top 10 stories of the year and you know you'd think it'd be about violence and death and destruction and natural disaster this particular year I was looking and one of the top 10 stories of the year in Lynchburg was Lynchburg gets its first chain restaurant wow that was in the top 10 stories and I thought what is this I didn't know we got a chain did I miss that it was Subway we have a Subway nice sandwich shop yeah which is great for the distillery crowd is to to go into Subway and get your order I'm thinking you know this large distillery down the street that people come from all over the world to go see that some fast food place would have figured it out long ago Subway is our national chain and then we have many many local establishments we have Miss Mary Bobos which Jack himself would have had a noonday meal at that restaurant it was a different name it was a hotel at the time okay and they served food it was a Solomon Hotel and Jack would have had a noonday meal there so we've got everything from Miss Mary's boarding house to plenty of good barbecue places we've got a nice coffee shop on the square and then we do have our national chain the Subway one thing else I would I'd love to add we love our whiskey podcasts it's great to Drew to have this conversation with you today and we want to let people know and you're well aware that there's a a podcast that Jack Daniel's does oh yeah that's how I found out about the shootout in Nashville it's called Around the Barrel in any place you know whether it's iTunes or whatnot that you download your podcast you'll find around the barrel there and so we appreciate you being here and well we'll have to tune in and and keep abreast of what you're doing as you're traveling Tennessee and learning about all our nice distilleries here well everywhere I go when I see a bottle of Jack Daniel's I'll remember the conversation and then and good vibes of the place so appreciate that well just know that in 170 countries around the world you can say two words that they'll understand and that's Jack Daniel so what's funny is after this interview was over I found out in just bringing up things about my hometown that nelson used to live in that same hometown how interesting Brighton Michigan talk about a small world well remember if you need show notes head out to whiskey-lore.com/episodes don't forget to take part in Bracketology which is going on at facebook.com/whiskeylore and instagram.com/whiskeylore Whiskey Lore is a production of Travel Fuels Life LLC I'm your host Drew Hannush and until next time cheers and slainte mhath

Listen To Whiskey Lore