Whiskey lovers traveling to see how the famous Jack Daniel’s whiskey is made in the company’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee may be surprised to discover it is illegal to purchase a bottle of alcohol in the county in which it is produced. Unlike other distilleries where samples of spirits are given to visitors, tourists seeking to try some of the famous Tennessee sour mash during a tour of the distillery will be disappointed.
This is because the distillery is located in Moore County, a dry county. These counties have made it illegal to sell alcohol, although it is perfectly legal to produce it.
Jack Daniel’s has been made with the same recipe since 1866, when Jack Daniel opened his distillery after learning the secrets of the trade from master distillers Dan Call and Nathan “Nearest” Green. Daniels had no children, so he passed his business on to his nephews when he died.
Unfortunately for the business, the temperance movement was strong in Tennessee, which legislated laws in 1909 prohibiting alcohol consumption in the state. The temperance movement, which advocates curbing alcohol consumption, succeeded in passing the 18th Amendment in 1919, banning alcohol consumption in the U.S.
During this time, known as Prohibition, the Jack Daniel’s distillery was closed. Prohibition was finally lifted in 1933 when the 21st Amendment was ratified, but it took several years until quality ingredients were available to restart production. In addition, the distillery closed during World War II so resources could be diverted to the war effort.
Restarting production did not change the state’s laws, however. Sales of alcohol have been prohibited in the county since temperance laws were passed early in the 20th century. That being said, you need not leave Moore County empty-handed! Thankfully, an exception is made for a special commemorative bottle available for purchase from the gift shop outside the distillery — that just so happens to have whiskey inside.