Sweet hubby planned a full day of activities for/with me yesterday as part of an early birthday present. (He's so sweet!) A 280 mile total motorcycle ride which started with breakfast at a little local restaurant. Destination the Jack Daniels Distillery where we took a tour of the entire process for making Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. (photos at FaceBook)
Whether you drink whiskey or not, I don't, doesn't matter. This is a success story and an education. Jack Daniels draws a quarter of a million tourists every year. We had people from all around the world in our tour group, with visitors from the three top recipients of Jack Daniels exports - Germany, Australia, and the UK.
Jack Daniel's is a brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey that is the best selling whiskey in the world. It is known for its square bottles and black label. It is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee by the Jack Daniel Distillery, which has been owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation since 1956. Despite being the location of a major operational distillery, Jack Daniel's home county of Moore is a dry county, so the product is not available for consumption at stores or restaurants within the county, although the distillery does sell commemorative bottles of whiskey. (more)
The weather was perfect yesterday for a motorcycle ride and it was also perfect for touring Jack Daniels. I cannot fully describe the smells around the distillery, but think yeast, fresh baked bread, yummy smells. The distillery is based where it is because of the cave spring water where the pure, iron-free cave spring water stays the same temperature all year
Like most companies that are prospering these days, (they produce 23 million gallons of amber gold Tennessee Whiskey, about a billion dollars worth every year), Jack Daniels is taxed out the wazoo - nearly 60 percent of the price of a bottle of Jack Daniel’s is in some form of tax.
You may remember late last year a private citizen wanted the local government to require an additional $10.00 per barrel tax, saying “We are entitled to more money from the only industry in the county...to pay the bills for new schools, roads, bridges, even a new water treatment plant" because "Moore County is “entitled” to more money because Jack Daniel’s used bucolic images of small-town life in Lynchburg to sell its product". Isn't that the attitude of too many local, state and now the federal government?
... the distillery sells more than 100 million bottles of whiskey every year, it quickly adds up to about $4 million a year. That’s a million dollars more than the entire county budget. And a cost, says Beam, that could affect the company’s growth. (Fox)
The general manager of Jack Daniel’s suggested that the company might move it's business elsewhere, saying the idea of taxing someone just because they’re successful is fundamentally unfair.
“That’s not free enterprise and that’s not what this country was built on,” he said. “I saw a quote the other day that said that a person used to look at a successful person and say now, what do I have to do to become like that? Whereas now, they might look at him and say, what can I do to get what they’ve got.” (Fox)
In the case of Jack Daniels, sanity prevailed. In November 2011:
The proposal called for a referendum on a plan to tax Jack Daniels whiskey by the barrel to bring it up to $5 million annually. The drive by some residents was killed after a 10 to five vote by the Moore County Council. The company that owns the distillery currently pays one-and-a-half million dollars in local property taxes. (NPR)
The company has taken strides to reduce its environmental footprint and maintain an efficient process for producing a high quality product. They are good neighbors, good employers, great business managers and produce a product purchased around the world. But be sure, they will be badgered again by politicians, citizens, and government organizations who will put more roadblocks in their path. That is the reason so many of our businesses are suffering today.
Thanks again hubby for a wonderful day, a wonderful life!