Is it strange that the real purpose of this trip was to do the Jack Daniel Distillery Tour?
Especially since I don’t even drink it or anything like it?
Well, see, I find the production of any kind of alcohol – fermentation, distillation, viticulture, what have you – so fascinating from both a chemical and historical perspective. I can’t help but wonder how people stumbled upon and then developed these processes, and the great care and precision that goes into making any of it on a high level.
It’s such a contrast to my slovenly, “that’ll do” way of life, I suppose…it’s like visiting another country for me…
(I read good things about the George Dickel tour as well, but I didn’t really want to take that extra jog up to Tullahoma, so Jack it was).
It’s a very good tour. I’ve done a few of these factory-type tours – Golden Flake here in town, Blue Bell down in Sylacauga, etc.. – and this one ranks. The guide we got was an older guy, confident, at ease, knowledgeable and there was a refreshing paucity of awkward jokes. The history was thorough, the chemistry was clearly explained – those big bubbling vats of fermenting mash won’t be forgotten, the hard sell was at a minimum, and limited to the unattainable “single barrel” club.
The tour is free (there’s another two-hour tasting tour that costs $10), and today, a summer weekday, we were able to get on a tour that left within 10 minutes of our arrival, no problem. You ride a bus up to the charcoal-burning yard, and then walk back down, going into the original offices, the fermentation building and the distillation building on the way, as well as the cave spring, of course. It was really interesting to see the mash bubbling away – not the greatest scent, but interesting to have the kids pick out the yeast smell…
A few images (no photos allowed indoors)
Vintage Texaco in Cowan, TN. We went to Lynchburg via Sewanee. (“Mom, what does that mean?” “What?” “What you just said…’pretentious.'” “Oh….that….”)
Charcoal being made from sugar maple. Very hot!
The way home took us through Huntsville, so I thought about stopping for the “Robot Zoo” exhibit at the Space Center (free admission because of membership in our science museum), but time got away from us, we had to be back in town for a meeting tonight, so not this time. I did, however, take a 10-mile detour off the interstate to visit the Mennonite-run bakery. Very good! With chickens out front who got away before I could dig my camera out of my purse.
Close up of the Scripture text on the wrapper: