You Can’t Legally Buy Jack Daniel’s In The Town Where It’s Made

By Jeff Kelly on Friday, December 6, 2013
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“Oh brother, be a brother, fill this tiny cup of mine. And please, sir, make it whiskey: I have no head for wine!” —Nick Cave, “Brother My Cup is Empty”

In A Nutshell

Jack Daniel’s is perhaps the world’s most famous whiskey brand. It’s produced in the tiny town of Lynchburg, Tennessee, a rural town with fewer than 6,000 residents. Of course, one can only hope none of them like to imbibe, because it’s illegal to purchase their most famous product, as Lynchburg is in a “dry” county.

The Whole Bushel

When it comes to whiskey, you would be hard pressed to find a more famous brand anywhere in the world than Jack Daniel’s. Distilled in Lynchburg, Tennessee, for over 140 years, the whiskey brand began to gain fame in the 1950s thanks to it being the choice of such notables as William Faulkner, Winston Churchill, and Frank Sinatra.

Lynchburg is a tiny town in the county of Moore, with a scant population of fewer than 6,000 people in the rural countryside. That doesn’t change the fact that the Jack Daniel’s distillery is one of the most famous in the world and the oldest in the United States, and it gets nearly a quarter of a million tourists walking through its doors yearly.

Of course they probably walk out disappointed, because believe it or not, it’s actually illegal to sell or purchase alcohol of any kind—even the town’s most famous product—because Moore is a dry county. This dates back to Prohibition, which started in Tennessee in 1910 and which Lynchburg decided they’d never bother to vote down, even after Prohibition was repealed in the United States.

In fact, there’s only one place in the entire county where you can legally purchase a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, and that’s in the gift shop of the distillery itself. Even then, it’s only a commemorative bottle. You still can’t purchase a Jack and Coke in any local restaurants, and even if you visit the distillery and get yourself a commemorative bottle, it’s still illegal to even taste the whiskey anywhere within county limits.

Despite all of this, Jack Daniel’s has continued to grow and be featured in numerous movies and television shows throughout the years, and is in fact the top-selling whiskey on Earth. Daniels himself died in 1911 after getting blood poisoning from kicking his safe in frustration.

Considering this was just a year after Prohibition began in Tennessee, our best guess is that, despite what “the man” wants to tell you, he was just plain frustrated that he wasn’t legally allowed to consume his own product anymore. He’d probably be even more frustrated to know that his descendants still have to drive out of the county to be able to legally purchase a bottle with their ancestor’s name on the label.

Show Me The Proof

Welcome to Lynchburg, TN, home of Jack Daniels Distillery
The Atlantic: Jack Daniel’s Secret: The History of the World’s Most Famous Whiskey
Moore County News: Jack Daniel Distillery