A Dry County Jack Daniel's Distillery Tour with Kids
By Meg Brunson
We love tours, and as a Jack Daniel's drinker, I was excited about the opportunity to visit Lynchburg, Tennessee and see how the whiskey is made! The Jack Daniel's Distillery offers a variety of tours that offer taste-testing if you do attend without kids, but with kids, the "Dry County Tour" is your only option. To be honest, I was a little bummed by this. I do enjoy Jack Daniel's Whiskey and would have loved to taste their new Green Apple product, or some of the others I've yet to try... but, despite the lack of tastings, the "dry" tour did not disappoint!
We were advised to arrive 30-minutes before our tour, which gave us plenty of time to get our tickets and browse a display full of Jack Daniel's history and whiskey makeing processes. This is also the time to ensure everyone has used the potty - since there are not bathrooms on the tour which lasts about one hour, ten minutes.
The first stop on the tour was to visit a photographer who snapped a pic of the whole group first, then individual families/groups. After getting our pictures taken, we boarded a shuttle bus that transported us a short distance, up a hill, to the starting point of the tour. It was really nice that the tour was organized in a way where the walking was all down-hill.
There are 2 weeks out of the year that the Distillery does not produce whiskey - and (at first) I was disappointed to learn that we were touring at the tail-end of that 2-week period... but it actually meant that we got to do some interesting things that you aren't able to do 50-weeks of the year, like shout into the ginormous vats in the distillery building that are typically filled with 65,000 gallons of mash, and hear the echos!
Did you know that Jack Daniel's Distillery not only uses charcoal for "mellowing" their whiskey - but they MAKE all of their own charcoal! We were able to see all the sugar maple wood waiting to be burned, and a time-lapsed video of the process, since they were not burning when we were touring. Because they use a good deal of fire in their charcoal making process they also have an on-site fire brigade in case of emergencies (though there have not been any fires to date).
Not only do they make their own charcoal - they make all their own barrels too! After the whiskey is distilled and mellowed, it goes into a barrel and matures in the Barrel House for 5-7 years. We learned that the stacking location of each barrel will effect the taste, and no 2 barrels will taste the same. In order to get a consistent taste, Jack Daniel's blends a large number of barrels together strategically before packaging them for retail sale. You can also buy a single barrel - which will therefore taste unique from the retail product!
One thing we've learned about Tennessee is that the state has a number of caverns, and we discovered that the Jack Daniel's Distillery has a cavern on it's land including a natural limestone spring which provides the water used for creating the whiskey. They call it their "not so secret, secret ingredient!" We loved how education this tour was, interesting for the whiskey-lover and non-whiskey lovers alike!
Tips for a Great Trip:
- Parking - Car and RV parking is across the street from the Distillery, and parking is free. The walk is short, however there is a shuttle bus that will take you from the visitor center located within the parking area, over to the distillery.
- Shoes - wear comfortable sneakers and be prepared for a good deal of outdoor walking. There is a shuttle that brings you to the back of the campus (up a hill) and you walk downhill back to the various production buildings.
- Picture Perfect - They take a group picture before embarking on your tour - so be prepared! We were happy with how our pic turned out and bought it for our traveling scrapbook!
- Souvenirs - One of the iconic souvenirs you have the opportunity to purchase is a bottle of whiskey that you can have engraved. I knew I wanted one - but wish I had brainstormed WHAT exactly I wanted engraved on the bottle! If you're like me, you might want to jot down some ideas before arriving!
- Town Square - Lynchburg, Tennessee is a VERY small town in a small county - there is only one traffic light in the whole county! With the exception of the small whiskey shop at the distillery, you'll want to take the short walk (or drive) to the town square where you can shop at their official gift shop, and visit a variety of quaint shops and restaurants.
Whether you're a whisky drinker, or simply interested in the history of one of the most well known distilleries in the USA, the Jack Daniel's Distillery and the small town of Lynchburg are a great place to plan a getaway! Learn more and start planning your trip at https://www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/visit-us.
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!
© 2019 Meg Brunson
Thanks to Jack Daniel's Distillery for sponsoring this review. All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!