Is Jack Daniels Drying Up?

Drought conditions can be felt all over the country and locally as well. The drought is also impacting Tennessee, with no signs of letting up and it’s hitting businesses right where they make their living.

Jack Daniels water supply is running low and putting the century-plus whiskey business in jeopardy.

Jerry Hamilton is the distillery plant manager for Jack Daniels. He checks the progress of the whiskey being made at the Lynchburg distillery. While doing so he finds a small problem - wasting water.

The water here has become a precious commodity. The water source for the whiskey is a spring flowing through the Jack Daniels property. For more than 140 years this spring, known as Cave Spring, has been the water supply for Jack Daniels. It is one of the most essential parts of the whiskey’s recipie.

“Cave Spring as most people know is iron free and because it is iron free, it tends to schew the firmentation just a little bit and allows us to produce Jack Daniels as we know Jack Daniels,” Hamilton explained.

But this year there is a problem - that water supply is starting to flow less and less. Hamilton said the drought Tennessee is in is taking a toll on Cave Spring.

“Water flow is down substantially. I would say at least one third to half of what we normally see,” Hamilton said.

To the people who make Jack Daniels, all water is not created equal. It takes a special kind to make this whiskey and they say it’s only here in this cave. For that reason they have started conserving as much as they can. Using the water only for the whiskey and nothing else and even finding ways to cut back on the amount used in the process.

What will happen if the spring goes dry?

“If we can’t use what it takes to make Jack Daniels I suspect we won’t make Jack Daniles until we get all the ingredients we need,” Hamilton said.

Moore County ironically it is a dry county. You can’t buy a drink here, but if this drought continues that term “dry” could take on a whole new meaning.


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