Although the product generally meets the regulatory criteria for classification as a straightbourbon, the company disavows this classification and markets it simply as Tennessee whiskey rather than as Tennessee bourbon. Packaged in distinctive square bottles, a total of 11 million cases of the flagship "Black Label" product were sold in the company's fiscal year ended April 30, 2013.
Statue of Jack Daniel in front of the subterranean fresh water spring from whence he once drew the water used in the production of his whiskey (Jack Daniel's Distillery, Lynchburg, Tennessee)
According to the Jack Daniel's website, founder Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was born in September 1850, although seemingly no one knows the exact date because the birth records were destroyed in a courthouse fire. If the 1850 date is correct, he might hypothetically have become a licensed distiller at the age of 16, as the brand label says "Est. & Reg. in 1866". Other records list his birth date as September 5, 1846, and in the 2004 biography Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, author Peter Krass maintains that land and deed records show that the distillery was actually not founded until 1875 (the date also suggested by the Tennessee state library, estimating that he was 29 when the distillery was founded). Jack was one of twelve children fathered by Calaway Daniel. Jack's mother, Lucinda Cook Daniel, died in 1847 (making an 1850 birth date impossible), after which his father remarried and had several more children. Jack Daniel's grandfather, Joseph "Job" Daniel emigrated from Wales as did his Scottish wife to the United States. He was of Welsh, Scottish, English, and Scots-Irish descent. In 2012, a Welshman, Mark Evans, claimed to have discovered the original recipe, in a book written by his great-great-grandmother in 1853, whose brother-in-law emigrated to Tennessee.
Jack died in 1911 from blood poisoning which started from an infection. The infection allegedly began in one of his toes, which Daniel injured one early morning at work by kicking his safe in anger when he could not get it open (he was said to always have had trouble remembering the combination).
Jack Daniel never married and did not have any children. However, he took his favorite nephew, Lem Motlow, under his wing. Lem was very skilled with numbers, and was soon doing all of the distillery's bookkeeping. In 1907, due to failing health, Jack Daniel gave the distillery to Motlow, who then bequeathed the distillery to his children, Robert, Reagor, Dan, Conner, and Mary, upon his death in 1947.
Tennessee passed a state-wide prohibition law in 1910, preventing the legal distillation of Jack Daniel's in the state, and as a result Lem Motlow began distilling operations in St Louis, Missouri and Birmingham, Alabama, though none of the production from these locations was ever sold due to quality problems. The introduction of prohibition in 1920 (until 1933) through the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution stopped production in St Louis; production in Alabama having been stopped earlier by that state's prohibition laws. All production then ceased. Even the Twenty-first Amendment enactment in 1933 repealing federal prohibition did not allow production in Lynchburg to restart, as the Tennessee state prohibition laws were still in effect. Motlow, as a Tennessee state senator, helped repeal these laws, allowing production to restart in 1938. The five-year gap between national repeal and Tennessee repeal was commemorated in 2008 with a gift pack of two bottles, one for the 75th anniversary of the end of prohibition and a second commemorating the 70th anniversary of the reopening of the distillery.
The U.S. government banned the manufacture of whiskey during World War II and a little beyond, from 1942 to 1946. Motlow resumed production of Jack Daniel's only in 1947 after good quality corn was again available.
When the company was later incorporated, it was incorporated as "Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, Prop., Inc." This has allowed the company to continue to include Lem Motlow, who died in 1947, in its marketing, since mentioning him in the advertising is technically just citing the full corporate name. Likewise, the advertisements continue to say that Lynchburg has only 361 people, though the 2000 census reports 5,740. This is allowable because the entire label was trademarked in the early 1960s when this figure was the actual population cited by the Census Bureau; changing the label would require applying for a new trademark or forfeiting trademark protection. However, the census population includes all of Moore County, as the county and city governments are consolidated. Moore County, where the Jack Daniel's distillery is located, is one of the state's many dry counties. Therefore, while it is legal to distill the product within the county, it is illegal to purchase it there. However, a state law has provided one exception: a distillery may sell one commemorative product, regardless of county statutes. Jack Daniel's now sells Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, the original No. 7 blend (in a commemorative bottle), and a seasonal blend (on rotation) at the distillery's White Rabbit Bottle Shop.
Lowering to 80 proof
Jack Daniel's black label was historically produced at 90 U.S. proof (45% alcohol by volume). The lower-end green label product was 80 proof. However, starting in 1987, the other label variations were also reduced in proof. This began with black label being initially reduced to 86 proof. (Both the black and green labels are made from the same ingredients; the difference is determined by professional tasters, who decide which of the batches would be sold under the "premium" black label, the rest being sold as "standard" green label.)
Finally, starting in 2002, all generally-available Jack Daniel's products were diluted to 80 proof (including both black label and green label). The reason stated for this was that the distillery's marketing had found that customers preferred a lower proof whiskey; this also simplified the production process, and lowered production costs. This reduction in alcohol content was condemned by Modern Drunkard Magazine and a petition was formed for drinkers who disagreed with the change.
Jack Daniel's has produced higher-proof products at times. A one-time limited run of 96 proof, the highest proof Jack Daniel's had ever bottled at that time, was bottled for the 1996 Tennessee Bicentennial in a decorative bicentennial bottle. The distillery debuted their 94 proof "Jack Daniel's Single Barrel" in February 1997. The Silver Select Single Barrel is currently the company's highest proof at 100, but is only available in duty-free shops.
Jack Daniel's Black Label Tennessee Whiskey remains the flagship product of the Brown-Forman Corporation. In the fiscal year ended April 30, 2013 the company sold a total of 11 million cases of the beverage.
The Kelly Racing Holden VE Commodore of Todd Kelly at the 2010 Clipsal 500 Adelaide
Jeff Arnett, a company employee since 2001, became Jack Daniel's master distiller in 2008. He is the seventh person to hold the position in the distillery's history. His predecessor, Jimmy Bedford, held the position for 20 years. Bedford retired in mid-2008 after being the subject of a $3.5 million sexual harassment lawsuit against the company that ended in an out-of-court settlement, and he died on August 7, 2009 after suffering a heart attack at his home in Lynchburg.
Other Master Distillers include Jess Motlow (1911-1941), Lem Tolley (1941-1964), Jess Gamble (1964-1966), and Frank Bobo (1966-1992).
A Tennessee Squire is a member of the Tennessee Squire Association, which was formed in 1956 to honor special friends of the Jack Daniel's distillery. Many prominent business and entertainment professionals are included among the membership, which is obtained only through recommendation of a current member. Squires receive a wallet card and deed certificate proclaiming them as "owner" of an unrecorded plot of land at the distillery and an honorary citizen of Moore County, Tennessee.
Making charcoal at the distillery, ca. 1920-1935
Jack Daniel's whiskey is filtered through sugar maplecharcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging, which is an extra step that is not used in making most Bourbon whiskey, and the company claims that this makes the product different from Bourbon. However, Tennessee whiskey is required to be "a straight Bourbon Whiskey" under terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement and Canadian law, and there is no other legal definition of the term "Tennessee whiskey" (other than U.S. law governing the definition of "whiskey" in general).
Old No. 7: Also known as Black Label, this is the original Jack Daniel's (80 proof).
Gentleman Jack: Charcoal filtered twice, compared to once with Old No. 7 (80 proof).
Single Barrel: Whiskey sourced from a single barrel in the company's warehouse (94 proof).
Tennessee Honey: Honey liqueur blended with whiskey (70 proof).
Green Label: A lighter-bodied bottling of Old No. 7, not available everywhere (80 proof).
Silver Select: For export only (100 proof).
Winter Jack: Seasonal blend of apple cider liqueur and spices (30 proof).
The company has done special bottlings, sometimes to commemorate special events.
1970s and 1980s
Maxwell House (1971): The Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, was famous for more than just its coffee. This decanter is a replica of a bottle originally designed by Lem Motlow. In 1905, Motlow filled the bottle with Jack Daniels whiskey and sent it to the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
Belle of Lincoln (1979): Before 1871, the area that comprises Lynchburg and portions of Moore County was part of the larger Lincoln County, and “Belle of Lincoln” was one of the earliest names under which Jack Daniel sold his whiskey. 90 proof.
Tribute to Tennessee (1982): This was released for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Inaugural (1984): In 1907, Jack Daniel traveled to Nashville to hear President Theodore Roosevelt speak. The "Inaugural" decanter was released on the 80th anniversary of Mr. Roosevelt's presidency. It would commemorate Jack Daniel's admiration of the 26th president of the US. 90 proof.
Silver Cornet (1986): When Jack Daniel opened The White Rabbit and Red Dog saloons in Lynchburg in 1892, he thought of a novel way to attract people to the town square. Mr. Daniel recruited townspeople and distillery workers as musicians for his new band.
Riverboat Captain (1987): In Mr. Daniel's day, the Cumberland River was a major thoroughfare for riverboats hauling cotton, tobacco and passengers, with Nashville being a major port of call 90 proof and 86 proof.
125th Anniversary (1990): It was in 1866 that Jack Daniel first registered his business with the United States Government, making 1991 the Jack Daniel Distillery’s 125th Anniversary. Though no registration records exist today, it is believed that these dates designate it as the oldest registered Distillery in the United States. It is also listed as a National Historic Site.
1895 Replica (1992): The first official square bottle was released in 1895 and embossed with the words “Old Time Distillery No. 7 Jack Daniel Distiller Lynchburg, Tenn.” To pay tribute to this original square bottle, the Distillery released an exact replica in 1992.
Barrelhouse No. 1 (1994): Barrelhouse 1 is one of the oldest warehouses at the Distillery. This bottle commemorates one of the oldest aging houses on the grounds of the distillery. The barrelhouses were built in 1912. These buildings are seven stories high and have proven ideal for aging whiskey. 94 proof.
Tennessee Bicentennial (1996): A one-time limited run of 96 proof, the highest proof Jack Daniel's had ever bottled at that time, was bottled for the 1996 celebration in a decorative bicentennial bottle.
Jack Daniels Monogram (1998, 2004, 2009): Jack Daniels Monogram is a Whiskey that JD used to make for the Asian Markets. The bottle was sold with a leather sleeve. It has the JD monogram in gold in the middle of the bottle. 94 proof. When it was introduced in 2009, the Monogram bottle was a limited release for the state of Tennessee only. However, even though 2009 was the first year this bottle was available in the United States, it was actually released internationally in 1998 and then again in 2004.
75th Anniversary (2008): Released for the 75th anniversary of the 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which repealed national prohibition. 90 proof.
70th Anniversary (2008): Twenty-eight years after Prohibition closed the doors to the Jack Daniel Distillery, the Distillery returned to making whiskey the way Mr. Jack did. This bottle celebrates the repeal of prohibition and to the reopening of the Jack Daniel Distillery. 90 proof.
Oregon's 150th Birthday (2009): …It was to celebrate the 150th birthday of this diverse and beautiful state that Jack Daniel’s released a special commemorative bottle in 2009. This 750ml bottle was very limited in its release… 86 proof.
American Forests (2010): To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, Jack Daniel’s and American Forests® partnered to help restore damaged ecosystems by planting one tree for every limited edition bottle sold.
Gentleman's Jack Limited Edition (2010): Even though twice-filtered Gentleman Jack whiskey has risen in popularity since its introduction in 1988, the company had not issued any special bottlings of the expression until 2010 when the first Limited Edition Gentleman Jack Commemorative Bottle was released. Using the design of the current 4th Generation Gentleman Jack bottle, the Distillery produced this commemorative bottle with an image on the backside rather than on the more commonly used frontside…
Mr. Jack’s 160th Birthday (2010): This is packaged in a special black bottle. 80 proof.
Mr. Jack's 161st Birthday (2011): The special edition of Jack Daniel's, bottled in honor of Mr Daniel's 161st birthday. This has a modified bottle shape with a black wrap. 80 proof.
Angelo Lucchesi 90th Birthday (2011): Angelo Lucchesi began working for the Jack Daniel's in 1953 as the distillery’s first salesman. 90 proof.
White Rabbit Saloon (2012): This commemorates the 120th anniversary of the opening of Jack Daniel's saloon of the same name. 86 proof.
Unaged Tennessee Rye (2013): Jack Daniel's first new grain bill since the lift of Prohibition, rye is featured predominantly in the mash of this product rather than corn. The first batch is the run straight from the still and has not been kept in barrels. Only unaged corn spirits may be called whiskey, thus unaged Tennessee Rye is labeled as "Spirits Distilled From Rye". 80 proof.
Sinatra Select (2013): A Tennessee whiskey sourced from deeply charred oak barrels and bottled at 90 proof. Meant to tribute the famous musician Frank Sinatra.
Scenes From Lynchburg (1998-): Around 1998 they started to sell the first 1 liter bottle in a new bottle line called the "The scenes from Lynchburg". This first bottle was sold only in Europe. It would bring us 7 different bottles with a little picture/drawing of something - a scene - from Lynchburg. Almost every year a new bottle will be made and sold around airports in Europe. Around 2001 they started selling the same designed bottles in a 750 ml version in Canada, also trying to bring us a new bottle each year. In 2003 the first US version was sold exclusively in Lynchburg also in a 750 ml version with 43 % proof whiskey instead of the 40 % they received in Canada. What started as a bottle line of 7 bottles expanded to a total of 12 Scenes in the 1 liter size, 8 in he 750ml size and 3 for Canada. The series appears to have ended.
Gold Medal Series (1996-2006): This run, started in 1996 and completed 10 years later, celebrates the company's seven wins of best whiskey at various spirits awards. Each of the seven medals was commemorated by a different bottle design and 86 proof whiskey.
Ducks Unlimited Series, Single Barrel (2006-): In 2006, the Jack Daniel Distillery announced that they would team up with Ducks Unlimited to release a special new series of bottles and would donate a portion of sales to this organization’s conservation efforts. Each year since that time a new bottle in the Ducks Unlimited Series has been released.
Holiday Select Series (2011-2013): Made with barrels used in Lynchburg's barrel tree, these are limited small batch bottlings for the holiday season. The release in 2011 was 100 proof, 2012's bottling was 90.4 proof, and 2013's was 98 proof.
Master Distiller Series (2012-): This line is meant to honor the seven men who have held the position of master distiller in the company's history. This is bottled with 86 proof whiskey. The second bottle in the series honoring Jess Motlow was released in 2013 with an error on the bottle. The error is a misprint of service dates as 1911-1944; Motlow served only until 1941. The Distillery recalled shipments and it is believed[by whom?] only 200 cases were sold in Tennessee and International locations. The corrected bottle was released a few months later.
Sinatra's 100th Birthday (2015): ...building up to a global launch in 2015 for Sinatra’s 100th birthday.
The French singer Orelsan in "Ils sont cools" includes the line "Passe la tise que je me Jack Danise" (which can be translated as "Give me the alcohol so I can be Jack Danieled").
The cover of Patrick Wensink's book Broken Piano for President featured a book cover design based on the label of Jack Daniel's whiskey, which resulted in a cease-and-desist letter from the company.
The cover of "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band", an autobiography collectively written by the members of the rock band Mötley Crüe, includes a bottle design based on that of Jack Daniel's whiskey.
The Canadian rock band Three Days Grace mentions it in their song "Expectations", with the line "Threw a shot of Jack back, left with the jackpot."
Eric Church has a song titled "Jack Daniels" in which he sings "Jack Daniels kicked my ass again last night." His song "Love Your Love The Most" includes "and hell yes I love my dog, and Jack D in my coke." "Sinners Like Me" says "so we sit on his headstone with a fifth of Jack D, here's to a long line of sinners like me."
The Devil Makes Three reference Jack Daniels in their song "Old Number Seven" with the lyrics "Jack Daniels Old Number Seven, Tennessee Whiskey got me drinking in heaven."
He's a Mental Giant by Tech N9ne contains the line: "…Like drinking Patron and Jack prone then jack on silk quilts…"
Fuck Food by Tech N9ne contains the line: "…Action-packed with a rack and a little bit of that Jack…"
Hank Williams Jr mentions Jack Daniels in his song "Dixie On My Mind" singing "The people here don't sip Jack Daniels whiskey,
The way they do in that Tennessee mountain land."
Dave Lewis - Jack Daniel's Green
Get Throw'd by Krizz Kaliko contains the line: "…Four horsemen I'm drinking, Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker…"
The 1979 David Allen Coe song "Jack Daniels if you please" contains the line "Jack Daniels if you please, knock me to my knees".
The Brad Paisley song Alcohol indirectly references Jack Daniel's by referencing the distillery's location in its chorus: "...since the day I left Milwaukee, Lynchburg, Bordeaux, France..."
The Drive-By Truckers song "Dead, Drunk, And Naked" has the lyric "Me and old Jack Daniel's, become the best of friends. We got all them Baptists to die for our sins. I know the lord is coming. The South will rise again!"
The Liane Edwards Band, popular country band from France, directly refers to the brand name in their song "Jack", ( My Best Friend's Name is) "Jack" . " He was born down in Lynchburg... My best friend's name is Jack, he may be your best friend too, when you drain him to his last drop, I'll be glad to share my friend with you..."