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started in Tennessee in 1910 and which Lynchburg decided they’d never bother to vote down, even after Prohibition was repealed in the United States.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

  • lee

    Common knowledge.

  • Hillyard

    I willing to bet the townspeople have figured how to get around that little problem.

    • Errkism

      I was thinking the same thing. I bet not many people abide by that law.

      • Emkay

        bootleggers abound in Moore County….

  • Hadeskabir

    Of course no one drinks in that country, the same as no one drank booze during the Prohibition.

    • lee

      County.

  • mrgooloolee

    why isn’t there a way to access all knowledge nuts,nuts on 1 page?

    • Hadeskabir

      You want a bunch of nuts on 1 page? Here you go:

  • Roger Guess

    I actually live there and you can purchase jack daniels in the gift shop just like any other place. There just aren’t any liquor stores in the county

    • Hadeskabir

      That was stated in the article “you can legally purchase a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, and that’s in the gift shop of the distillery itself.”

      • Roger Guess

        Yeah it is now. When I made that statement that wasn’t there. Also it is not illegal to buy alcohol of any kind. You can purchase beer in the county.

        • Hadeskabir

          Weird, maybe they edited it after seeing your comment.

          • Roger Guess

            Could be. Quick response

          • Emkay

            fake news abounds just like the bootleggers in Moore County.. don’t believe anything you read, one third of what you see on TV, one fourth of what you hear, but all you feel!

  • Dan

    It’s not a whiskey! It’s a bourbon. Whiskey is Irish, Whisky is Scottish!

    • SucklingPig

      This is wrong. Its not a bourbon, bourbons tend to come from Kentucky. JD is a ‘Tennessee whiskey’. The word whiskey or whisky doesn’t all ways depend on where the drink originates.

    • Robert Downey

      It’s American bourbon whiskey by regulatory criteria , market as Tennessee whiskey. Scottish Whiskey (Scotch) is made exclusively in Scotland, to a standard (3 years age in oak barrels etc), Irish whiskey is similarly governed by a set of rule (made in Ireland etc). Whiskey is a broad term with many different varieties i.e. place of origin, grain used, ageing process etc. Would be a great idea for an article, would write it myself but my Aberfeldy 21 years old Scotch Whiskey needs to be drunk.

    • Keith Hayden

      It is definitely NOT a Bourbon.

      • Emkay

        Jack Daniel’s No.7: The product meets the regulatory criteria for classification as a straight bourbon, though the company disavows this classification and markets it simply as Tennessee whiskey rather than as Tennessee bourbon.[8][9] As defined in the North American Free Trade Agreement, Tennessee Whiskey is classified as a straight bourbon authorized to be produced in the state of Tennessee.[10] The Tennessee Code Annotated (57-2-106) further defines Tennessee Whiskey as being filtered through charcoal made from sugar maple in addition to the above requirements (the “Lincoln County Process”).
        Packaged in square bottles, a total of 11 million cases of the flagship
        “Black Label” product were sold in the company’s 2012 fiscal year, which ended April 30, 2013

  • Greg

    Country Western singer Randy Howard was killed in a gunfight with a bounty hunter at his home in Lychburg TN.
    Thats a country western song in itself.

  • gman

    lol

  • gman

    lmao

  • gman

    shrek is love sherk is life

  • Raquel

    Why can’t people buy or drink alcohol in Lynchburg, TN.