Chattanooga is only about 2 hours away from Nashville so we decided to take a bit of a side trip to Lynchburg Tennessee. Why Lynchburg you ask? Well this is the location were the Tennessee sipping whisky with the Jack Daniel’s label is produced.
This trip forced us off the interstate highway and into the rolling hills of rural Tennessee. It is quite pretty in the country. Rolling hills, huge houses set back from the road with very large yards. It seems that this part of the state is horse country. It seemed that every second or third farm had something to do with horses. There were breeders, equestrian as well as boarding stables.
The distillery has tours of their operation on a daily basis. Their parking lot accommodates tour buses so there was no problem with us pulling in with our RV. We registered at their welcome center and after a short time we were off on our tour. Starting with a group picture, just outside the welcome centre (add link) we then walked up a short hill to where there was a huge fire. Jack Daniel’s makes their own charcoal from white oak. The story goes the worker starts the fire by taking a swig of Jack Daniels and spits some on the wood. Then lights it on fire. This charcoal is used in the finishing process which we saw later in the tour.
We then headed over to the fermentation building. Here spring water is mixed with corn, barley and rye and allowed to ferment. We were able to have a look at this mess as well as have a smell. I think the smell followed me around until we got to the charcoal vats that the bourbon drips through to become the sipping whisky that Jack Daniels is. That odour stuck with us for some time as well.
The tour was very humorous, interesting and included a description of the whole distilling process. We learned how the coopers build the casks as well as how the plant creates their own charcoal. It was also interesting to know that Lynchburg is located in a dry county. We asked about that fact. Our tour guide, Betty, explained that the county would probably always be dry, just because the way the law is written. It seems that there needs to be 2500 names on a petition from the town where the liquor store would be located. This would allow a referendum to be held. The main town in the county is Lynchburg which has a population of about 350 so they will be unable to get the number of signature s required for a referendum to be held so there can be a vote on the issue. Another interesting fact is that a majority of the workers at the plant don’t drink yet every employee receives a free bottle of Jack Daniels on the first Friday of the month. Sounds like an interesting benefit don’t you think?
After our tour we were off to Chattanooga. What should have been an hour-long drive back on the interstate turned into almost two. As you probable figured out, it was a little later in the afternoon and the traffic had picked up considerably. We encountered some steep grades both up and down and were surprised to see an electronic billboard attached to a truck on the shoulder advising us to slow down and be careful, as there was an accident ahead. Sure enough we were back bumper-to-bumper, for over one-half and hour. We finally came upon the accident. It appeared that a semi trailer might have been travelling down a hill too fast and was unable to make a turn. There were parts of the trailer along with its fruit cargo all over the ditch between the divided highway. We sure hoped no one was seriously injured.
Time marched on and the traffic picked up as we entered Chattanooga. Things slowed down which was fine by me as we negotiated the interchanges and found our way to Camping World. I was glad they hadn’t closed before we arrived. We have booked in for 5 nights. We will see how much we can experience tomorrow but might find a lot of places closed as tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Time will tell. Who knows, tomorrow might be a day off and we will just laze around. All I know for sure is we have steak and baked potatoes on the menu with apple pie for desert.