Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tour of Gregory's "Turf" and Jack Daniel Distillery

Up by 8, had a cooked breakfast, packed our lunches, and then the 4 of us were on our way by 10 to take a "field trip" of the "life of the Gregorys".  We started by passing Chuck's childhood home from 4th grade till they got married and then a stop by the shop he and his brother owned and where they did their cabinetry business.  

From there we did a drive-by of the 3 homes they owned since they were married.  They purchased their 1st home right before they got married and it was in the process of being built.  It was finished just when they got home from their honeymoon.  Their 2nd home, an large all brick rancher, was in a very nice neighborhood and was an eye appealing home.  From there we drove to the home they owned for 6 years before going full-time.  What a beautiful property with 72 acres and a very scenic view.  It required a lot of work and mowing, but we could see why they loved living there.

We had a fairly long drive to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.  It had rained during most of our drive and although there were picnic tables there, we were forced to eat in the car to avoid the rain.  But, when we got out of the car, the rain had stopped and since a lot of the tour is outdoors, we were thankful.  Before the tour, we walked around the visitor center where they had interesting things to read and see.

It starts as the color on the left and darkens as it ages in the

Some of the past and present bottles used by
Jack Daniels!

The tour is free and lasts about 1 1/4 hours.  A bus takes you around the few little shops in Lynchburg (population 361 and 600 people work at the distillery) and then to the 1st stop on the tour. After that ride, you walk the remainder of the tour going from building to building.  Our tour guide was Jason, and he did a phenomenal job.  He was borne and raised in the area and was a wealth of information. 

This is Jason, our very qualified tour guide!

The Jack Daniels Distillery, the oldest registered distillery in the US, was closed during the Prohibition and only reopened in 1937.  It is located in Moore County, the smallest county and a dry county in Tennessee.   So, you can not buy their whiskey in any stores or restaurants in that County.  The distillery hosts 250,000 visitors per year.
People who work on the line at the distillery start at $26.00/hour with total health and dental care and time each day to exercise.  The company is strong on fitness and will even pay for sports equipment for the worker's children. They have 2 working antique fire trucks on the property and workers are trained in how to put out the type of fires that can happen at a distillery.

These antique fire trucks are operational and used.

Jack Daniels whiskey is made from malted barley, corn, and rye that is mixed with yeast and water. But, not just any water.  It is spring water on the property that contains no iron.  It is what helps give their whiskey its special taste.   It is heated to make a mash.  5 gallons of mash will make 1 gallon of whiskey. Then it goes through a cooling process and when it ceases bubbling, it goes to a large vat where they use only sugar maple wood that has been burned to make charcoal for the filtering process.  They had many, many stacks of the wood that was worth over $1 million dollars. 

Part of the property of Jack Daniels!

This spring water is on their property and used in making
their whiskey!

This is Jack Daniels who started the distillery
at age 16.  He was only 5'2", but a powerful

The ingredients for making whiskey - corn, rye, and malt
barley with spring water and yeast added!

The stacks of sugar maple wood used to make the charcoal chips!

The company has 2 coopers that make all the white oak wooden barrels for the Distillery.  Each barrel is only used one time and then sold.  Once the whiskey is placed in a barrel, it goes to one of the 87 barrel houses located both on and off the main property.  They want them in "scattered" locations in case of fire and different years in each building so if there is a fire, it will not interrupt the bottling process.  Each house holds 20,000 to 65,000 barrels and each barrel holds 53 gallons of whiskey. That's a lot of liquor!!!  It is not ready to bottle for 4 to 6 years and during that time nothing is done to the barrel.

This is the inside of one of the barrel houses.  We weren't able to
to inside, only look in the door!

This is the outside of one of the barrel houses!

We are enjoying the tour!

They make 150,000 gallons of whiskey per day which equals about 23 million gallons per year.  Just another interesting fact.  The federal government gets $13.50 per gallon.  Wow!  You can buy a barrel of their whiskey for $10,000 to $12,000.  That's a lot of money!!!!   You get a bottle out of the barrel to taste to make sure it is satisfactory and then they keep it for you and you tell them when you want a bottle and if you want to send bottles to friends or family they will gift box it and send it for you! 

This is the area where they bottle the whiskey for people who
have bought a barrel!

These are being boxed to send to family or friends, etc.of people
who bought a barrel!

 As you can tell, we found the tour extremely fascinating!

These bottle were for sale in the bottle store, Because it is a dry
county they can't sell you whiskey in their regular bottles, only
in their decorative ones!  You are buying the bottle and the whiskey
just happens to "come along".

After the tour, we drove into the town of Lynchburg about 1/2 mile down the road.  We went into the main store where they make many things out of the barrels and sell apparel and souvenirs.  

A town with a population of 361.

This is the main store with products from Jack Daniels!

So any things built from the barrels!

We also drove a few more miles down the road and found an area where Jack Daniels has additional barrel houses.  They are huge and it is unbelievable how many barrels and how much whiskey is in each one!

Probably a bottling plant!

An enormous barrel house!

We got back to the CG at 5:30 where both Melissa and I picked up some more laundry and then went to Melissa's mother's home for a delicious lasagna dinner and homemade strawberry cake.  What a feast!  While washing, we played a game of Pinochle with the women winning.  Melissa's mother watched us play because Pinochle was a game she played with her husband and friends about 50 years ago.

We were back to the CG at 10:30, tired, and ready for bed.  We are loving our time in Nashville!

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