Perhaps you enjoy a glass of whiskey from time to time. Perhaps you have never had a drop in your life. No matter where you sit on the spectrum, a tour of the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, should be part of your plans if you’re headed to AOPA’s Regional Fly-In in Tullahoma.
Members who arrive early for the fly-in can tour the Jack Daniel Distillery on Friday, Oct. 9. The tour offers the sights, sounds, and aromas of the nation’s oldest registered distillery. Round trip transportation will be available from Tullahoma Regional Airport for $5.
You’ll see the rickyard, where sugar maple trees are split, stacked into a “rick,” and burned for charcoal, and stately barn-like barrel houses where the whiskey is aged. Here you might catch a whiff of the “angel’s share”: that which vaporizes into the air.
Next is the charcoal mellowing process, which gives the whiskey its distinctive flavor—and inspires a tour guide to remove his cap and say with utter reverence: “TENNESSEE sippin’ whiskey!”
The charcoal gives the flavor, but the barrels give it the color. Jack Daniel Distillery makes its own barrels, and an experienced cooper can produce 250 per day—all without nails, glue, or any other substance that could taint the taste of the whiskey.
Plan to spend about 1 hour and 15 minutes on the tour, and wear appropriate shoes for a mostly outdoor walk that extends about one-third of a mile.
The regular tour is free, and all ages can participate. A separate tasting tour is available for $10, and participants must be at least 21 years of age.
At the tour’s conclusion, you might want to take home some whiskey. Commemorative bottles can be purchased at the White Rabbit Bottle Shop at the visitor’s center. For all else, you’ll have to return to Tullahoma: The town of Lynchburg has been dry since Prohibition.
With shuttles running every 30 minutes, you’ll have plenty of time to visit Lynchburg’s town square and perhaps enjoy a pull-out-all-the-stops meal at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House. Reservations are required; call 931/759-7394. But be sure to save some room for the Barnstormers Party, which will feature fantastic barbecue and loads of Southern hospitality. To RSVP for the fly-in or register for the Jack Daniel Distillery tour, see the website.
This AOPA Fly-In has been made possible by a generous grant from the AOPA Foundation. Visit foundation.aopa.org for more details.