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.
The Jack Daniel's website suggests its founder Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was born in 1850 (and his tombstone bears that date), but says his exact birth date is unknown. The website states that it's customary to celebrate his birthday in September. The Tennessee state library web site says that 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 says he was born in January 1849 (based on Jack's sister's diary, census records, and the date of death of Jack's mother).
Jack was one of thirteen children fathered by Calaway Daniel and was the youngest of his mother's ten children. According to the Tennessee state library, Jack's mother, Lucinda Cook Daniel, died in 1847 (making an 1850 birth date impossible). After Jack's mother died, his father remarried and had several more children. Jack Daniel's grandfather, Joseph "Job" Daniel emigrated from Wales along with his Scottish wife, Elizabeth Calaway, to the United States. He was of Welsh, Scottish, English, and Scots-Irish descent. Jack's father died in the Civil War, and he despised his step-mother, and as a result he ran away from home and was essentially orphaned at a young age.
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)
Jack was taken in by a local lay preacher and moonshine distiller named Dan Call, and began learning the distilling trade as a teen-ager from Call and Call's slave Nearest Green, who stayed on with Call after his emancipation. In 1875, on receiving an inheritance from his father's estate (following a long dispute with his siblings), Daniel founded a legally registered distilling business with Call. He took over the distillery shortly afterward, when Call quit for religious reasons. The brand label on the product says "Est. & Reg. in 1866", but his biographer has cited official registration documents to assert that the business was not established until 1875.
After taking over the distillery, in 1884 Daniel purchased the hollow and land where the distillery is now located. By the 1880s, Jack Daniel's was one of fifteen distilleries operating in Moore County, and the second-most productive behind Tom Eaton's Distillery. He began using square-shaped bottles in 1897, with the square shape of the bottle intended to convey a sense of fairness and integrity.
According to Daniel's biographer, the origin of the "Old No. 7" brand name was the number assigned to Daniel's distillery for government registration. He was forced to change the registration number when the federal government redrew the district and he became Number 16 in district 5 instead of No. 7 in district 4. However, he continued to use his original number as a brand name, since his brand reputation had already been established.
Jack Daniel never married and did not have any children. However, he took his nephews under his wing – one of whom was Lemuel "Lem" Motlow (1869–1947). Lem, a son of Jack's sister, Finetta, was 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 two of his nephews. Motlow soon bought out the other nephew and went on to operate the distillery for about forty years.
Ad for Old No. 7 from a May 1908 issue of The Nashville Globe
Tennessee passed a statewide prohibition law in 1910, effectively barring the legal distillation of Jack Daniel's within the state. Motlow challenged the law in a test case that eventually worked its way up to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court upheld the law as constitutional, however.
Jack died in 1911 from blood poisoning. An oft-told tale is that the infection 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). However, Daniel's modern biographer has asserted that the story is not true.
Because of the prohibition in Tennessee, the company 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 Alabama operation was halted following a similar statewide prohibition law in that state, and the St. Louis operation was halted by the onset of nationwide prohibition following passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920. While the passage Twenty-first Amendment in 1933 repealed prohibition at the federal level, state prohibition laws (including Tennessee's) remained in effect, thus preventing the Lynchburg distillery from reopening. Motlow, who had become a Tennessee state senator, led efforts to 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 home of Lem Motlow, proprietor of Jack Daniel's from 1911 to 1947, still stands at the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg
The Jack Daniel's distillery ceased operations from 1942 to 1946, when the U.S. government banned the manufacture of whiskey due to World War II. Motlow resumed production of Jack Daniel's only in 1947 after good quality corn was again available. Motlow then died the same year. He bequeathed the distillery to his children, Robert, Reagor, Dan, Conner, and Mary, upon his death.
The company was later 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 use Lynchburg's 1960s-era population figure of 361, though the city has since formed a consolidated city-county government with Moore County, and its official population had thus grown to over 6,000 by the 2010 census.
In 2012, a Welshman, Mark Evans, claimed to have discovered the original recipe for Daniel's whiskey, in a book written in 1853 by his great-great-grandmother, whose brother-in-law emigrated to Tennessee.
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 former 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
The mash for Jack Daniel's is made from corn, rye, and malted barley, and is distilled in copper stills. It is then filtered (or "mellowed") through 10-foot (3.0 m) stacks of sugar maplecharcoal. This extra step, known as the Lincoln County Process, removes impurities and the taste of corn, and is not used in the production of Bourbons. The company argues this extra step 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. After mellowing, the whiskey is stored in newly handcrafted oak barrels, which give the whiskey its color and most of its flavor.
The product label mentions that it is a "sour mash" whiskey, which means that when the mash is prepared, some of the wet solids from a previously used batch are mixed in to help make the fermentation process operate more consistently. This is common practice in American whiskey production. (As of 2005[update], all currently produced straight bourbon is produced using the sour mash process.)
After being used for the aging of Jack Daniel's whiskey, many barrels go to Scotland to be used in the production of Scotch whisky. Some barrels are leased from Glenmorangie distillery. Some of the barrels are sold to McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, for production of Tabasco sauce and to both the Mount Gay Rum company of Barbados and Appleton Estate of Jamaica for use in the aging process of their distinctively flavored rums. Some barrels are also cut in half and shipped to Lowe's Home Centers to be used as planter pots. They retain the whiskey smell for some time after arriving there and must be watered every couple of days to keep them intact before they are sold and filled with soil.
On a state level, the State of Tennessee has imposed stringent requirements. To be labeled as Tennessee Whiskey, it is not enough under state law that the whiskey be produced in Tennessee; it must meet quality and production standards. These are the same standards used by Jack Daniel's Distillery, and some other distillers are displeased with the requirements being enshrined into law.
On May 13, 2013, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam signed House Bill 1084, requiring the Lincoln County process to be used for products produced in the state labeling themselves as "Tennessee Whiskey," with a particular exception tailored to exempt Benjamin Prichard's, and including the existing requirements for bourbon. As federal law requires statements of origin on labels to be accurate, the Tennessee law effectively gives a firm definition to Tennessee whiskey, requiring Tennessee origin, maple charcoal filtering by the Lincoln County process prior to aging, and the basic requirements of bourbon (at least 51% corn, new oak barrels, charring of the barrels, and limits on alcohol by volume concentration for distillation, aging, and bottling).
In 2014, legislation was introduced in the Tennessee state legislature that would modify the 2013 law to allow the reuse of oak barrels in the Tennessee whiskey aging process. Jack Daniel's Master Distiller Jeff Arnett vehemently opposed the legislation, arguing the reuse of barrels would require the use of artificial colorings and flavorings, and would render Tennessee whiskey an inferior product to Scotches and bourbons.
The company has also been the subject of a proposal to locally surtax its product. It is claimed that the distillery, which is the main employer in a company town, has capitalized on the bucolic image of Lynchburg, Tennessee, and it ought to pay a bounty of $10.00 per barrel. The company responds that such a tax is a confiscatory imposition penalizing it for the success of the enterprise.
Old No. 7: Also known as Black Label, this is the original Jack Daniel's (80 proof/40% ABV).
Gentleman Jack: Charcoal filtered twice, compared to once with Old No. 7 (80 proof/40% ABV).
Single Barrel: Whiskey sourced from a single barrel in the company's warehouse (94 proof/46% ABV).
Tennessee Honey: Honey liqueur blended with less than 20% whiskey (70 proof/35% ABV).
Tennessee Fire: Cinnamon liqueur blended with less than 20% whiskey (70 proof/35% ABV).
Green Label: A lighter-bodied bottling of Old No. 7, not available everywhere (80 proof/40% ABV).
Silver Select: For export only (100 proof/50% ABV).
Winter Jack: Seasonal blend of apple cider liqueur and spices (30 proof/15% ABV).
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 Daniel's 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): Since the company claims the distillery was established in 1866, it issued a 125th anniversary commemorative bottling in 1990.
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. Comes with a private invitation to Jack Daniel's Country Club. 
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 Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg is situated in and around a hollow known as "Stillhouse Hollow" or "Jack Daniel's Hollow," where a spring flows from a cave at the base of a limestone cliff. The limestone removes iron from the water, making it ideal for distilling whiskey (water heavy in iron gives whiskey a bad taste). The spring feeds into nearby East Fork Mulberry Creek, which is part of the Elk River watershed. Some 1.9 million barrels containing the aging whiskey are stored in several dozen barrel houses, some of which adorn the adjacent hilltops and are visible throughout Lynchburg.
The distillery is a major tourist attraction, drawing over a quarter of a million visitors annually. The visitor center, dedicated in June 2000, contains memorabilia related to the distillery and a gift shop. Tours of the distillery are conducted several times per day.
In the film The Shining, Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, is seen drinking Jack Daniel's in the hotel bar, served by the ghostly bartender Lloyd (he had ordered a bourbon on the rocks)
The song "Ils sont cools" by the French rapper Orelsan 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 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 song "Expectations" by the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace includes 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." Another song, "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 band 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."
The song "He's a Mental Giant" by Tech N9ne contains the line: "…Like drinking Patron and Jack prone then jack on silk quilts…"
The song "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
The song "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" references 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 French country group Liane Edwards Band 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..."