What happens when you get master distillers from two largest rivaling brands together? Actually, some pretty good jokes. Fred Noe, Master Distiller at Jim Beam, and Jeff Arnett, Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s, take the stage at Bourbon and Beyond to field questions asked by Fred Minnick. They talk about BBQ, celebrities, mash bills, the Lincoln County Process, and if Jack Daniels is actually a bourbon. Bourbon and Beyond 2019 will take place September 20th through the 22nd so if you want to be there in person to hear sessions like today’s podcast, go get yours at BourbonandBeyond.com.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about drinking in moderation.
- What kind of music have your brands been part of?
- What is your BBQ connection?
- What is the history of your distillery?
- What is your mash bill?
- What is your proof point off the still?
- What do you think of the Lincoln County process?
- How do you train your tour guides?
- Tell us about Gentleman Jack.
- Tell us about Jim Beam.
- Is Jack Daniels a bourbon?
- Do you ever feel competitive against each other?
- What does your average day look like?
- What was it like to hang out with Mila Kunis?
- What celebrities are connected to Jack Daniels?
- How often do you introduce new products?
Hey everybody. If you have a bachelor’s degree and live anywhere in the United States, there’s now a way for you to take your bourbon education to the next level. The distilled spirits business certificate from the University of Louisville is an online program that can be completed in as little as 15 weeks and will prepare you for the business side of the spirits industry. It’s offered by the AA CSP accredited college of business. And this certificate was developed in partnership with industry experts to be one of a kind and it’s going to prepare you for your next adventure. Learn more about this online program at business.louisville.edu/online
spirits Why is that? Why your barbecue sauce the Jim Beam barbecue sauce tastes so good. America’s Got Jim Beam in it that’s why
you made for it. And have you had the jab he had the jack daniels barbecue sauce. I’m sure they do. Um, no. I mean, if you had a VDD like Tyson Yeah.
add Whiskey and anything it’s good for
everybody welcome back. This is Episode 214 of bourbon pursuit. I’m one of your host Kenny and buckle in strap up whatever it is because we’ve got a lot of news to roll through. Kentucky al has announced the release of batch number three rye this Kentucky out Kentucky straight rye whiskey carries a 10 year age statement and will be bottled at 114 proof in the press release Dixon dead man who’s been on the show previously and episodes 27 and 160 has assumed the title of Kentucky Al’s master blender, but he commented, there is a lot of older juice and right number three, but it’s the 10 year old stocks that really give it that richer, thicker, syrupy mouthful and bring the blend forward. And as you know by listening to this
That the youngest whiskey in a blend is the one has to be shown in the label. So this will be making its way out to major markets across the US this month with a suggested retail price of wait for it $199 and 99 cents. Last week I had the opportunity of joining the fine folks over a liquor barn here in Louisville to select the very first of not just any barrels, but the very first barrels from a newly launched single barrel program. From bullet bourbon. We had the opportunity to tour the grounds and do some blending for fun. And during that blending process. There was one that just blew me away. I picked it up and I just knows that and I couldn’t set it down. I just kept smelling this bourbon and I kept tasting and I told the master Blender whatever is going on here with sample number six. Just give me this single barrel and call it a day. Come to find out. They gave us samples of 20 plus year stencil well a stock that they had sitting around to just have some fun with blending. But you better believe I took no part in
lending that in savored every last drop. It was a tease, but a special treat nonetheless to have that experience with those folks there. Then we headed down to the barrel tasting room where we had different barrels and different bottles with different mash bills and different strains to come away with a total of three different barrels. And these will be available at liquor barn locations across the state of Kentucky in a few months, and I’ll be sure to let you know when they do drop. Last week we had the opportunity to head over to Bardstown, Kentucky, where we were in a very unique opportunity to select two barrels of Elijah Craig from six that were rolled out. For anyone that has been on a quick pic before you know that three is usually the standard. We are fortunate that the heaven Hill team pulled some strings and got us a six barrel lot. We came away with an 11 and a 12 year old bourbon and both were just killer at barrel proof. But we also proved it down to us bottling proof of 94 just to make sure it’s still held up and of course it did look forward to these going on sale to our
Patreon community in the upcoming few months, and a special shout out to keg and bottle in Southern California for making this all happen. Find out more about our barrel pics and what we have going [email protected] slash bourbon pursuit and you can find out more and get bourbon delivered to your door from keg and bottle go to keg the letter in bottle.com. And speaking of barrel pics, we had one go on sale this week, our riff you like a hurricane from new roof is going to be available to purchase to our Patreon community. Now you’ve heard it on the podcast already but we will be in Frankfurt at bourbon on the banks next week, August 24. Go get your tickets. We hope to see you there because we’re going to have our own booth will be talking about bourbon pursuit. However, we will also be sampling our pursuit series for all those who haven’t gotten the memo yet. And speaking of pursuit series, it’s now official. We will be bottling our first Kentucky bourbon next month that will go on sale sometime in the October timeframe. And we’re ecstatic to be the first time
let you know that we have partnered with Will it distillery to bring this experience to you? I know it’s still surreal to even hear myself say that we’re partnering with Will it and we purchased two barrels of their high rye bourbon recipe that will be bottled as pursuit series. Cats drink non chill filtered the works, you know how it is in this high recipe. It’s not even available to liquor stores or distributors that are selecting their own bullet family private state pics right now. So we feel super excited and super lucky to be able to bring this as a one off offering of what we’re able to do. And we selected not just one but two of these barrels two months ago and they just landed our bottling facility this week. We’re going to be the first independent bottle of Willett distillate and who knows how many years and we’ve got more news to announce with this but we’re gonna have to make you wait just a little bit longer until we cross our T’s and dot our I’s. Now today’s podcast it was recorded last year at bourbon and beyond in 2018.
Since we were there, sort of in a passive capacity, we had one session, but we didn’t have the ability to kind of record. We got this after the fact and that means we don’t have any video. So if you’re watching this on YouTube or Facebook, I’m sorry. It’s like we’re going back one and a half years before we started doing video. But if you’re on the road or you’re running or you’re just listening to audio as usual, then just continue as normal. But as you know, verb and beyond is just around the corner. It’s taking place next month in Louisville, Kentucky from September 20 through the 22nd. The festival has expanded from two to three days and you will get the chance to see a lot of familiar faces there. Ryan and I will both be moderating panels. And you’ve also got the entire roundtable making a presence. Jordan from breaking bourbon, Brian from sipping corn and Blake from bourbon are all leading their own panels and workshops. Of course, you’re gonna have Fred Minnick there too. It’s an opportunity to drink some bourbon, listen to some bands, go listen to a bourbon workshop or seminar then go back out there and rock out was the headliners.
This is covered in a single ticket price. So if you want to be there in person to hear sessions like today’s podcast, go get yours now at bourbon and beyond.com. We’ll see you in Louisville. Also, let’s toast a bourbon to the weather gods and hope for no rain and clear skies this year. Now, let’s see what Joe from barrel bourbon has for us today. And then you’ve got Fred Minnick with above the char.
Hey everyone, Joe here again. In 2013. I launched barrell craft spirits without a distillery and defied conventional wisdom. To this day, my team and I sourcing blend exceptional barrels from established producers and bottle a cast strength. You can find it on the shelves at your nearest retail store.
I’m Fred making this is above the charm. This past week in the Philippines, a lawmaker put forth a bill to ban the sale serving and consumption of alcohol and alcohol beverages and streets, pathways, plazas, alleys, sidewalks, parks and parking areas. They’re building
leaf is is that this will be a proactive response in the growing problems of alcoholism in the Philippine. And this is a quote directly from a doctor, their alcoholism and violence have clearly become key public health issues that require urgent attention. Hence, it is imperative for the country to initiate a national policy to curb alcohol consumption in public places in quote. So here’s the thing Philippines, this has been done before. And it didn’t work, prohibition in the United States basically open the world to the mafia. And it also showed that it didn’t really curb drinking at all. What it did do was it increased the sale of bad liquor, and people would die from drinking the equivalent of ethanol or gasohol. And today when we see areas where there are dry counties, you have moonshiners, so people will find a way to drink
And I’ll also say this, that the efforts to ban alcohol or alcohol advertising, they’re growing. And they’re growing because we have never really been able to figure out as a society, how to drink responsibly. So, when you’re getting your fellas together your girlfriends together, think about this for a moment, you could be an example used of drinking responsibly. What does that mean? Well, Google drinking in moderation, you definitely don’t want to get behind the wheel. To me, a big part of drinking in moderation comes down to the taste. I like to sip and savor and analyze every single molecule that’s hitting my palate. And that’s been a big reason why I’ve been able to develop my palate using mindfulness techniques. I also believe that there’s a project out there called the mocktail project that would be great to include in your parties that would help push the drinking in moderation and someone sober, doesn’t want to have a drink. They can have a
mocktail that’s basically a folk cocktail. That’s just as tasty as the cocktail would. And of course, the culture. We live in a society that does not want to educate young people why they cannot drink until they’re 21. I have a five year old and he can tell you exactly why he is not able to consume the same bourbon that his father and mother do. Now, I’m not saying that parenting is easy, but I do think it’s important that we educate our children that alcohol is not the devil. It is not some evil thing that demons cast upon you and the only way to not be caught up in its evil spell is to avoid it. And all honesty, if we just teach our children that drinking is bad for your body until you reach a certain age and your body is able to handle it. To me that is a more appropriate and honest and truthful way to bring someone up in this world. But
It’s just easier to band stuff. Just ask the Philippines. And that’s this week’s above the char. Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Twitter or Instagram at Fred Minnick, that’s at Fred Minnick until next week. Cheers
gentlemen please take your seats to my left here is Jeff our debt master distiller for jack daniels.
And to my other left, Fred noe master distiller for Jim Beam.
Gentlemen, it is such a privilege and honor to MC what is an absolutely historic seminar, jack and Jim, what’s the difference? The two world best selling American whiskeys. This is awesome. Now, both of you all have had a lot
of musical connections. Tell us let’s see what the difference is starting there. From the music perspective. What kind of music has Jim been been a part of? Well, I guess the first one was my dad met Hank Williams Jr. So it got a little name that’s a little name drop right there. And you know we’ve played with McGovern Gentry for a long time country. And then we’re trying to ease into the rock a little bit with Nickelback. And in our latest buddy was a kid rock. So we’ve, we’ve kind of hit different john years of music so you like people who like to drink? mostly people like to drink Jim Beam. All right.
All right, Jeff. Now, I think there’s a musician that’s pretty well connected the jack daniels. What’s the history there? Well, if you go back in our history, it goes all the way to our founder who was pretty world traveled considering he was born.
In a small town in Lynchburg, Tennessee, so he purchased some instruments he created a group called the silver cornet band had them play on the square in Lynchburg because he learned that music and whiskey and kind of go together. They’re both very social. So he’s kind of solved the connection. So it began very early for us, but I think the game changer and jack daniels history was back in the 1950s when Frank Sinatra first held up jack daniels on stage, he called it the nectar of the gods. Our sales doubled from 1955 to 1956. But he was a lifelong jack daniels drinker. It was after that as you started to see jack daniels not just don’t rock stages and music stages, but also in a lot of movies. But Frank was loyal to death. He literally was buried with a bottle of jack daniels in his casket. So we were honored to come out with a whiskey that that honored his love of the brand a few years ago. Now there’s also some photos of like Jimmy Page, drinking. jack daniels backstage, the Rolling Stones.
Lemmy from Motorhead slash from Guns and Roses. These are people that are pretty iconic, you know in the rock world. And definitely love jack daniels and we have we’re very fortunate we’ve got a lot of people in music who love jack daniels. And once we find that out, we don’t feel like they should have to buy jack daniels t shirt, so I write a lot of letters and send out a lot of T shirts to people to thank them for their love. Now, Fred, jack daniels used to employ a guy who made sure that Frank Sinatra always had jack daniels. Has Jim Beam ever done anything like that? What do you mean my chili Goblin like? So there was a gentleman from our buddies right? Frank Sinatra. Never he always had a case of jack daniels nearby. So they employed someone who basically from what I understand, just basically drove around with him made sure he was always with jack daniels are we when people are on tour, whatever market they’re in, our sales force shows up and breezes them pretty well. So your
I haven’t heard any of them complain about not getting plenty of Jim Beam. Alright, so that’s, that’s just a little touch on the music about what’s the difference between YouTube. You’re also both really big into barbecue. really big into barbecue. Now Jeff, I was a judge with you last year at the big jack daniels BBQ. Tell us about your big barbecue connection is jack daniels. Yes, we the fourth Saturday in October. in Lynchburg. We sponsor what we consider to be the Super Bowl of barbecue. It comes very late in the season for the Kansas City barbecue society circuit. But it’s the top 80 teams typically 20 of those have come from outside the US. So they’re representing countries like Switzerland, Estonia, Canada, Australia, England, but usually it’s about 50 or 60 of the best us teams who show up there to win the jack daniels international Invitational barbecue is a great time. I know and I have served as a judge on
The shade tree only where I judged the major meat categories, but I could hardly walk. When I got up on the table that day. I did not pace myself very well, but 42 samples in about three hours and you better know what you’re doing. So I know we’ve got some judges out here in the audience today who were looking on who can attest to that.
Now, Fred, you are a great barbecue pit man. You’re also a great ham maker. You’ve got a personal connection to barbecue and why is that? Why your barbecue sauce? The Jim Beam barbecue sauce tastes so good. Because God ZM Amen. And that’s why
you made for it. And have you had the jab. He had the jack daniels barbecue sauce. I’m sure they do know I mean, if you had ever
seen it, do you like their Tyson?
whiskey and anything? It’s good Jeffrey, what’s wrong with you?
Go customer for was over. Yeah, well, I had a plus or minus, you know, I should have said we should have a cuss word counter out there with you. You know, are you sorry, I’m a potty mouth. We can trust Jeff to be a gentleman but Fred boy, he can get go. I’m not a scholar, so don’t even go there.
Now both come from very historic distilleries. Very, very historic. Tell us about how jack Daniel got started. Well, for those who don’t know jack daniels life story. He was orphaned at a very young age, so he found himself without either his biological parents when he was a young teenager.
He was one of 13 children born to his father, one of 10 born to his mother, but he ended up moving away to work for his room and board on a neighbor’s farm. That neighbor was a Lutheran minister and a farmer. More importantly, he owned the general store that still stands on the square in Lynchburg today, and of course back in the 1850s and 60s, small town general stores had to serve a lot of functions.
And that community had to be a small scale department store had to swear you picked up telegrams, but also would be the pharmacy of the community. So jack started out making medicinal whiskey for a Lutheran minister that was sold to the townspeople of Lynchburg at the general store. So from very, very modest beginnings, he was out there for at least a decade perfecting the craft and ultimately bought the distilling equipment and moved it to where we are today and that happened in the 1870s. So you know, in jack daniels history, other than prohibition every drop of jack daniels has been made from a cave spring in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It’s one of the things I think that makes us really special. It’s one of the reasons why we’re is I think, consistent as we are. It’s a great water source and and the townspeople of Lynchburg have made it their passion to carry on the mission of jack daniels in his absence since he he passed in 1911. And since since we’ve been able to become the number one selling American whiskey today. So Fred, you guys also
Have a lot of your connection to your family’s history is also connected to the water. Tell us about that. Yeah, our, I guess my great great great, great grandfather Jacob been migrated into Kentucky a little place called harden Creek. And they were given away land to get people to come this way from the northeast. That’s how bad things were back then they were given land away, just to come in here and grow corn. Yeah. And what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Jacob came down, got his parcel of land. He was a Miller of grain. Then he found out making whiskey was a good way to preserve preserve the grain. In fact, come to find out is whiskey making skills were better and more profitable than the milling of grain. So our family started making whiskey. Oh jacobin. And then as time went on, and railroad came through, his son moved it to Bardstown. Then prohibition came along shut off
and along with a lot of other folks here in Kentucky, and after prohibition, Jim Beam started the old Murphy barber distillery backup spot right down here in Clermont, where he had been milling are grinding stone, limestone rock, there was a big spring there and a distillery. And so that’s where we got moved from Harding Creek to Bardstown to Claremont, where we are today, and eight generations later, we’re still there. So we’re looking at both water sources. They’re both limestone filter, they both very come from really strong natural areas of limestone, filtered x, you know, great access to the water. So we have a lot of similarities here. You know, from a cultural perspective, they’re both very involved with music. They’re both very involved in barbecuing, you’ve got some cool barbecue competitions as well. You both got barbecue sauces, and there’s a lot of connections there. And then the water is pretty much
The same. Now let’s talk about the recipes a little bit. Now, Jeff, I love you. You’ll tell me exactly what your recipe is your mash bill, Fred, what’s the Jim Beam? mash bill? How many years you’ve been trying to get that out of me for it.
I figured this would be the moment you would open up and share it. Not when I put me in that coffin, they might give it to you. I’m not going to give it to you because I know you want it so damn bad. It’s true. It is I do want to bend the thing is Fred. If I gave you numbers, they ended up to 100 would you know if I was telling the truth?
I would make you put your hand on my book and swear it’s the truth. So it’s the book of bourbon. It would have to be the truth. wouldn’t have to be shit.
fishes out for you. It has been a long time. It has been a long time. So let’s just say that jack daniels is very sharing with their recipes. With now they share it and you guys been very protective of it for me for years.
But we can say that you’re at least 75% corn.
You’re more than 51% corn. Now we’re more bitty 1% or then 51% corn. I’m not giving anything. Okay, because pretty soon as at how much raw, oh, you’ll be able to figure it out but give you with this with the gentleman from Tennessee tell us from the mash mill recipe for jack daniels. I will you know, with the exception of the raw whiskey that we’ve just introduced, that’s a 70% raw 18% corn and 12% malted barley pretty much everything that you’ve ever had from jack daniels shares what we call the old number seven rest, right? It’s 80% corn is 12% malted barley and 8%. Raw. And I know Fred doesn’t want to talk about it. But I would just say in general, jack daniels is about a half to a third of the typical raw content of a Kentucky bourbon. So when you start to contrast and maybe some of the differences, obviously whiskey and Kentucky bourbon that it begins at the grain, there was a deliberate choice to maybe go a little bit less on this
Ice that would be associated with Ryan going a little bit higher and corn and make it a little bit sweeter. So jack tends to push out into that sweet range a little bit. I think it’s fair to say, I think I know your grain bill, but I won’t tell anybody
with a brother, Jeff, you can say it here. No one’s listening. No one’s watching right now. They used to talk about it.
Actually, Chuck Cowdery had a good story about your dad and the issue of bourbon plus over there, you gotta go check that out. But sorry, so are our mash bills. The recipes are pretty close, you know, so they’re pretty close to being the same them. And then let’s look at the distillation perspective. You guys are both using column stills both using column stills. What are you coming off the still at what’s your what’s your proof point office Still, we we actually all of our stills are made out of copper. So there are columns still each is equipped with a blur, so it’ll be a single pass but a double distillation process. We target 140 points.
roof and with the still design that we have, we can maintain that plus or minus one proof point. So we have a really tight range around our target. So 131 to 139 would be the range 140 is the target. What is your office still proof? Jim Beam? Yeah, that’s where we’ll change our taste is with distillation strength. But we go off the first distillation 125 second distillation 135. OK, so again, both very similar in distillation technique. And now med one med 132 to 140. And by law, they cannot go any higher than 160 proof. So that’s actually telling you right there that they are deliberately going lower, so you can get some more of the characteristic from the grain in there. So they’re both doing very unique things. And now
we get to that point where we start saying
A difference. Now, Fred, you you guys go and get Maple charcoal and filter your whiskey right before it right? No, wait, no, that’s not Jim Beam. That’s jack daniels.
Did you do any damn research before you?
Sometimes I apologize for my buddy here, you know, what do you think of the Lincoln County process? I mean, yeah, it’s tradition. That’s what I do. It’s good. That’s what makes them special. Well, do you like it? I enjoy what they do what they make.
So tell us about the Lincoln County process. And by the way, I didn’t know I was trying to set
it up there a little bit. You know, even though Today we’re in the second smallest county in the state of Tennessee, both by population and geography. You’ll hear this charcoal Melling process often referred to as the Lincoln County process. So we’re in Moore County, but don’t get confused back in the 1860s lunch.
was in a larger county called Lincoln County. More county wasn’t formed until the 1870s. But this was a regional variant of bourbon. It was just something that that popped up among local distillers and back in Jack’s day, even though we’re the only one you’ll find there today. Back in Jack’s day, there were dozens of different distilleries littered throughout the hills around Lynchburg taking advantage of the limestone water that we have in abundance there. But they began to charcoal filter
right after they would distill the whiskey and before they would put it in a barrel they would filter it through hard sugar maple charcoal became the variety of wood that was most preferred. People have asked me before the jack us any other different types of wood other than hard sugar maple and I wish I could answer that question. I think if he were here today, that’s probably one of my top questions that I would have is what all did you experiment with before you settled there, but I will tell you this about hard sugar maple it’s an indigenous word. It’s all throughout the hills around Lynchburg. So it’s it’s a
easy to find, even after 150 years that we’ve been out cutting it and burning it for charcoal. The key advantage that I see from it is that it’s a very low ash wood. And we’re going Of course, we’re going to take our whiskey through that. So we don’t want a lot of ash coming out of the charcoal getting into the whiskey and going into the barrel. Today with modern technology, we could process that away if we needed to. But what I noticed is that there’s really not much in the way of ash that comes off of it. So oak actually has quite a bit of ash. Maple does not so jack was not just known to use hard sugar maple in the charcoal mellowing process, but he felt that it was very important to change it frequently because he recognized that it was like a sponge and eventually a sponge will get full and get saturated. And so you need to do more than just pass through charcoal, the charcoal needs to be fresh enough to make a difference. So we’re tasting our events every week, changing it out on the frequency necessary to make sure that it’s making the difference removing the fatty acids cleans up
The grainy knows it comes off much lighter, sweeter on the foot, both on the palate and also on the nose.
Fred, I don’t know about you, but I heard I listened to the process and I’ve seen it before a million times. And it just sounds like so much more work.
I mean, do you think that’s why in Kentucky that they stopped using that process? We’re just a little lazier probably
wouldn’t have gotten around or in the 1700s. I mean, look at them. Oh, but I’m not really. But now. I mean, that’s just that’s what Jeff and them do. And I’ve always done it. So we use it. We used to do it in Kentucky. You know, the the bill distillers actually used to do a similar process in the 1800s. It just did not. It was not very popular here. And so it went away. We did some charcoal filtering after aging. Yeah, to kind of smooth out some of the whiskies back in the old days, but now we’ve done some different different techniques and filtering now
Your tour guides Jeff. They like the lumps and mortar rounds toward Kentucky. And they just say this makes us better. Kentucky bourbon. Yeah. Now I gotta say as a Kentucky and although I tried to be neutral and is my skin crawls a little bit when your tour guide start making fun of Kentucky now what do you trade? What he traded him over there? Well, of course I think it’s friendly competition. I think it forces us both to be the very best at our game. And I think people when when we feel like we need to step up our game and mind our P’s and Q’s to make a better product. You know, I know that we’ve had people who’ve come and taking the tour jack daniels who’ve recently taken the Kentucky bourbon trail and some of them have come up and tell me that I asked the tour guide. They wouldn’t say which distillery it was. But you know, why isn’t that y’all don’t charcoal mellow like jack daniels does. And the standard response you’ll get is that all hail that’s, that is nothing but a shortcut. And of course, I looked up shortcut. I looked up the definition of IO and it’s amazing guy
was Fred know, well supposed to say shortcuts are supposed to save you time or money or both. And it’s something that we invest days in that we spend over a million dollars buying wood and burning it and replacing it. So it’s it’s something we’re pretty passionate about. But it’s to Fred’s point, it’s one of those things that makes a Tennessee whiskey unique. It makes it worth exploring. The same way I think, you know, no, to Kentucky barbers are pretty much going to taste the same. This was something that was a regional choice to make Tennessee whiskey is different. And it’s something that we feel like we perfected over the years and that we’re pretty proud that we still do today. All right, let’s go through our tasting here. The one on your lap if I’m correct, is jack daniels. My right so we can be? Yeah, the one on your left is jack daniels. For us up on stage is the one that’s closest to you. Are you going to be You got it?
I got so we’re serving here is a gentleman jack. Can you tell us a little bit about gentleman jack? Yeah, of course as a Tennessee whiskey, we charcoal mellow and we were talking
about that process being somewhat different than what they do in Kentucky to make a bourbon but that’s right after we distill whiskey and right before we put it in a barrel, it slowly passes through 10 feet of hard sugar maple charcoal. So that’s this is the distinct step that we do that makes jack daniels at Tennessee whiskey with gentleman jack. This was our first new whiskey since prohibition we introduced it in 1988. It was the only whiskey that we’ve ever done. We had charcoal melt it twice so it gets one pass of charcoal before it goes in the barrel it gets another one after it’s been fully matured in the barrel and before it’s bottle. So this is the double mellowed version of jack daniels. And what you’ll notice about it is that it has a very distinct absence of oak finish. For people who a lot of times if people struggle with bourbon or with whiskies in general it will do it will have to do with the aftertaste of oak, some people find it pleasant, that’s what makes them like bourbon for other people. It’s a block. It’s a reason why they can enjoy it. So gentlemen, jack was literally meant to be an approachable form of whiskey.
Using charcoal all natural this is. This is all water grains, barrel and charcoal. So there’s nothing artificial added in here. But this kind of displays the art of mellowing by doing it twice. All right, Fred, what do you think? I’m Dyson idea. What do you been doing the whole time? I’ve been smelling that I All right. Yeah, that’s fine.
I think I drank the whole damn thing.
That’s bullshit. Yeah, when it comes when it comes to this one in particular, I often describe it as being very, very clean,
uncomplicated, but it has almost a citrus banana nose on it has an absence of the earthy wood notes in it. Very clean and light. The great Lincoln Henderson actually had a big hand in the development of gentleman jack he did Lincoln work for brown Coleman for 40 years. So between the people of Lynchburg and all the the whiskey making expertise we have at Brown Forman, which of course includes some great bourbon brands and now also scotch whiskey and a new Irish whiskey.
Brand we we cover the whiskey world pretty well today except with the exception of Japanese whiskey. We even have Canadian. So we’re a whiskey company at our core. So Lincoln Henderson is the founding master distiller for both angel’s envy and Woodford Reserve. He’s in the bourbon Hall of Fame he passed away in 2013. great man. So there’s a little bit of a bourbon iconic figure connected to that whiskey now let’s taste a little bit of Jim Beam here. This is the this is the one we see Mila Kunis talking about all the time.
This mask about you know the person this is the world’s best whiskey their words not ours, according to see. Yeah. So what let’s look at the Mila Kunis and a little bit but tell us about what we’re drinking here with the Jim Beam black champion. Black is our gym being Nashville. Which I’m not going to tell you Fred. I know.
You’re not one. But we do. We aged long.
RGM been white label stays in the barrel for years. This is a six year taste profile. So we’re putting barrels that are older than six, some that are six, and some are a little younger than six. That way we keep the product on the shelf with a domain curve. All right, I got it. I got interrupted here. I gotta interrupt you. Okay, there wasn’t once upon a time it had an eight year old age statement on there. If you go back farther, it had 101 months.
History he was ready for me damn right.
Fred you remember we’ve done this ship before? Yeah.
You ain’t sent me out man. I might.
I might look dumb, but it’s just a disguise.
I still you know, the thing is, it took me a while to get over by still buy it. I’m glad to see it. But the big thing on this ad it’s 86 proof. So it’s got more age, higher strength. So gets a little bit more of what and I think bourbon is all about no more word.
Which I did notice gentlemen jack doesn’t have that much wood on the nose and finish. But I mean if you want a little more the if you like the oak, then you know the Jim Beam black is more than the GMBYI Let’s take a taste. You didn’t do that good talking to you in the jack daniels Did you? Yes sir. Oh you did I miss that. You want to watch it? Should you always try to set me up? I’m not trying to set you up. So now here I am trying to set you up. You’re setting me up. Here we go. No, I’ll give you the my spiel is a drink thing. I’m drunk enough to give me that loaded. Sorry.
Is jack daniels a bourbon?
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Is jack daniels a bourbon?
Well, no, I mean, let’s look on the label. You see the word BOURBON on her anywhere. It’s in the North American Free Trade Agreement.
I political Oh, man.
Come on. JACK. Is jack daniels a bourbon? You know, according to NAFTA? Yes, it is. Oh, there we go. Thank you so much for coming. If you want to trust if you want to trust the view of our government, you know, you’d have to say that it is if you want to make your own decision about that. That’s fine too. But if you look at everything in the federal
codes that define what a bourbon whiskey is. There are no exceptions when it comes to what jack daniels is our grain bill in the fact that were made in America, our grain bill, our distillation proved the fact that we only use new barrels or even make barrels for ourselves as a whiskey company. The only way to do that there’s nothing that would disqualify us. But there’s always been this argument that well, if you go to charcoal mellowing, it does distinctly change the spirit. Yeah, it changes the nose. It changes the mouth feel of it. And the actually it was the US government. Back in 1941. Who petition jack daniels This was after prohibition it ended. They wanted us to change our label from jack daniels, Tennessee whiskey to bourbon, they were trying to kind of go around and clean up who’s operations and what they were being labeled as and they said, we’ve looked at your process. There’s no exceptions. The what defined is bourbon, so why not just re label yourself so they submitted samples before and after charcoal mellowing, my salespeople actually offer those educationally today.
And they tasted it. This was the alcohol Bureau in Washington DC there actually was such a thing back then they tasted the product.
Government, they wrote us a letter, and 1941 that basically says we’ve tasted your product. And we have to agree that you don’t have the character that’s typical of bourbon whiskey. Therefore, if you want to label yourself a Tennessee whiskey, we won’t contest it any longer. And of course, the US government has a way of changing their minds. So we can we’ve kept a copy of that letter just as evidence that we don’t want to revisit that. We feel like the arguments been one. But we all we also say that it gives us hope, because it’s the one evidence that we have in the last 75 years that our US government got any decision right. So we take that one
You don’t get me in trouble jail. Fred, I know is going to get me in trouble. So Jeff,
do you ever get tired of people asking you that question? Is jack daniels a bourbon? No, no, no.
Really I think as long as people are curious, that’s part of the battle. You know, for the longest time whiskey from the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s whiskeys were all the rage. You know, the whiskey cocktails were what people ordered. But then we saw some pretty lean years as whiskey brands, the 70s, or the 80s 90s and 2000s. Were not necessarily so kind. So I think just having people to be bourbon curious.
As part of the battle, you know, I always say if we can make whiskey interesting, collectively, but the rising tide will raise all ships. So I feel like jack daniels success doesn’t necessarily have to come at the expense of Jim beam’s. And I think probably Fred would say the same. That we can both have extremely successful brands because we we do have unique flavors, we have unique brands. And that’s going to appeal more or less to different individuals. But I think just having people be curious about whiskey is the biggest part of the battle if they’re open to trying it. I think they’re
Something in the whiskey category that are going to like, all right, Do you guys ever feel competitive against each other, like you want to own the well over the other?
You know, the thing that, you know, the guys in production, were buddies, sales guys on the street. That’s another damn store.
I mean, I’d have to agree. You know, Fred. Now, this is very rare that we would be on the same stage together. But we met about eight or nine years ago, in Berlin. It was amazing, because I think that was Fred’s first comments. That means like, we’re a state apart, and we had to come all the way to Germany to even meet. So we, we were at the Berlin bartenders convention and had a chance to actually we were representing American whiskey versus the other categories of global whiskey. So we decided against the devil Yeah, instead of having the fence between us. We were actually on the same side of the fence there. So we were we were in violent agreement I remember about the importance of limestone water and mixing up grains and using new
barrels, making it all natural not using colorings or flavorings and things of that nature. So, you know, there’s so many things that are common about Jim Beam and jack daniels, of course, the one variant being charcoal mellowing, and people can decide if that’s right for them. But I think as long as they’re willing to to order a whiskey, there’s a good chance that they’re going to like something there. There we were, essentially, Jeff and me against the world. I don’t think we did pretty damn good.
Well, we were lucky, because it was in Germany, and Jim Beam is pretty strong in Germany. And so all our sales people were kind of on one side and they were probably a little drunk. I think.
I think there’s one thing we could agree to I actually have some friends who are what I call Doomsday errs, you know, who created fallout shelters who got Mr. ease and, you know, bottled water stacked up to the ceiling. And a lot of them have basically told me that I’m not I’m not hoarding cash. I’m basically putting bottles of jack daniels.
Whiskey and stuff like that because if the currency fails, they’re absolutely certain that a bottle of whiskey is always going to be worth something regardless of what happens.
But but but Baka would not be. Yeah, I think if we go back to bartering, it’s gonna be good to be in the whiskey business. What do you say?
Bam, right? You get more with a bottle of whiskey and you can handle the money. I guarantee it.
Well, gentlemen, it’s been a real pleasure here. This is such a rare opportunity to have these two on the stage. I would actually like to take some questions from the audience how bad it would you like some light shirt from folks like that some questions?
Anybody have any questions out there?
What is a regular day for Fred? No. And Jeff Barnett.
I get up about 630 here down the August 1 thing, look at emails is like every other person. So do
Deal with meetings conference calls. And then I get to have fun and go down to the distillery. taste a little white dog right off the steel and then usually hit by the lab and taste some as liquor and then hang out at our visitor center, shake hands, take pictures, sand bottles, and then hit home but then the day they send me to
your liquor stores and bars, all days signing bottles, taking pictures, doing presentations, I’m sure Jeff’s when he’s on the west side. I’m usually on the east.
That same place.
You can see who’s been ahead of you when you go into a liquor store. You see bottles on the shelf that have been signed by Jeff Arnett or Jimmy Russell or whoever is it well shit, I’m definitely behind him. You know, don’t put dates on them so you don’t know. Or maybe x coming. I’m not going to store and see bottles son from the last visit. And I think what shipping
one too many
I got out they don’t let you get away. You know I think the the one word in that question that that puzzles me the most is regular I don’t know that I’ve ever had a regular day as a master distiller because every day is it’s different to me I feel absolutely blessed to work for jack daniels you know I’m a native Tennessee and argue that is probably the best known product from our state so have to have any hand in working at jack daniels to me was a dream job. But 80% of my time is spent in Lynchburg. The one thing that I’m most fortunate about is that I don’t have to travel between facilities we make every drop in one spot using a water source which allows me to keep everything as consistent as I feel like it needs to be. It allows us to leverage you know, employees who have you know, several generations of experience making whiskey I think that I’m not the strength of jack daniels it is the people of Lynchburg who’ve committed over the years since prohibition to
Keep the brand going and growing. But I do spend about 50 to 60 days a year out on the road. So, you know, you become a little bit of a
celebrity in the world of whiskey. You know, it’s amazing what passes that celebrity, you know. But you know, to to a whiskey fan, they want to meet you, they want to get a photo, they want to get a signature. And that’s it’s always an honor to do that. But we are sold in 170 countries today in 10 years. I’ve actually by the end of this year, I’ll have visited 39 countries so cover a lot of the ground in a few days of the year. So let’s talk about celebrities for a second. Let’s go to what’s it like spending time with Mila Kunis? My one man
I mean, it could have been worse, you know? Now Mila she she came here to Kentucky a couple times and we hit it off right off the bat. You’re gonna love this story. I might as well go on and tell it. Surely I won’t get any trouble since I’ve already cursed a little bit going on with Mila first came. They wanted to make sure that our first
meeting was on film. They didn’t want us to get to know each other. And so she came to our home there in Bardstown. She was in the house. They were getting her hair and makeup wardrobe. You know, I pretty much do all that stuff myself. I don’t I don’t have hairdressers that go with me, kind of no reason to me anyway. My wife went into the house and was talking to me over there and she had her dog when Mila and her boyfriend at that time, Ashton Kutcher had to put her dog sleeping on Neil or something. So she got pretty emotional was holding Sandy’s dog. And she said, I’m a little nervous to work with your husband. And Sandy said, Why? She’s a walk curse a lot.
And my wife said, You’re good.
She’s a no you don’t understand. I say fuck a lot.
She said, You’re still good.
Sandy came out
And she came on was laughing I said, What’s the funny? So Amelia is nervous to work with you. I said Why? She was he causes a lot, so it’s no big deal. I know what she’s worried about saying fuck around you. So we did our little meeting. It was on film, everything was cool. Cut, take a break. I got her ear and I said fuck it.
We’re gonna get along just fine, big boat.
That’s how I was. I was tell someone that after having met Fred I realized he was truly a master of the English language because he can take the F bomb and use it as every form of the English language in one sentence.
Yeah, all right, Jeff, as I play bartender here on stage, why don’t you tell us one of your celebrity stories? Oh, goodness. Um, you know, we’re very fortunate. Like I said, we’ve had a lot of people especially in the music industry. We were fans of jack daniels. So especially in country music, a lot of people and they think of, of Tennessee. If they don’t
Think of jack daniels when they think of Tennessee I think they largely think of country music so I’ve had a chance to spend time him he
music table we even work, you know had a chance to hang out with with Zac Brown and
and his wife and his children and also now with Eric church, and to find out that his wife literally grew up about 30 minutes from my hometown, and what real and really good people that they are. I think that I think that’s the most surprising thing that I find is that celebrities are not a lot different than we are, you know, some of them maybe are but the ones that I’ve had the privilege of meeting I’ve been always really surprised at just how humble and what good people they are. And of course if they love jack daniels even better, we got plenty to talk about if they do. I know you. You are partial to the ones that favor Jim Beam and I definitely have a I feel like a big fan base out there both in Hollywood and all over the music industry, jack daniels as well represented there. All right, everybody. Let’s have another question. Who’s got a
Question out here. Yes, ma’am. Right here in the back. coming to you with the microphone.
How often do you introduce new products? And when will your next one be introduced?
I’ll answer for jack daniels. You know, how often do we come up with new products? You know, for the longest time we didn’t, we had one brand that carried us for over 100 years. We introduced gentleman jack in 1988. We introduced single barrel in 1997. We didn’t introduce any new products from jack daniels for about 14 years. And that wasn’t necessarily due to our lack of interest of offering new products. It was really more about is the market even wanting a new product from us? Are they happy with what they have, but as as whiskey has taken off again, I think that’s what we’re seeing has changed the most is that people do want to try a lot of different things, including the loyal jack daniels people and that includes, you know, our newest grain bill that’s come out is raw. So we have two different versions of it to me that’s that’s our new product and for this year, that’s what we’re going to continue to focus on.
Because to me, I think it’s very different for people who maybe have never been a fan of jack daniels before. Maybe one of the reasons is the fact that we’re very low and raw. And if you do like a high raw whiskey, we now offer that, you know, jack daniels, you know, like I said, we’re very fortunate we have just a rabid fan base. And I think besides Harley Davidson, we just recently got named the brand that’s most likely to be tattooed on someone. So, you know, people have asked me why, why did you come out with a rye whiskey? And it’s like, well, my fear was that there’s going to be this big burly guy with a tattoo that says jack daniels on his arm, and he’s gonna taste rye whiskey this out. He really likes that. So we need to give him a jack daniels option. That way, he’s not going to have to go and get his tattoo taken off. So but you know, to answer that question, we’ve come out with one new product a year for the last seven years. So we’ve gone from three to 10 in a really short period. So we’re just kind of trying to maybe decompress a little bit from doing that and focus on what we’ve got out there. We feel like we’ve got a really strong profile.
There’s something in there that out of those 10 that I think everyone’s gonna like.
Now you were about to dispute the tattooed thing for No, no, no, no, I asked him. I was going to ask Jeff for his was, oh, I couldn’t show you on stage. I’m sorry.
Between me and my wife, you’re lucky, you’re lucky.
Now, we do a lot of innovations.
My son actually, Freddie, he’s he’s got a project who just had a baby, by the way, or his wife had a baby. Right? Congratulations, grandpa.
Paul, I was holding Booker last time.
It was kind of cool. But Freddie’s got a brand called Little Book, which so my father called him from the time he was a baby. So every year, he’s going to make a straight whiskey or straight spirit blend. And so every year it’s going to be another chapter into chapter one was
No easy. The second one’s no easy task. First one was the big easy, but he’s taking spirit streams from within the beam Suntory portfolio around the world, which he’s got a pretty unlimited canvas. When you look at all the whiskies we have which, with this year, he did a 40 year old Canadian 16 year old Canadian rap, an eight year old, Kentucky straight raw,
all cash strength, just like his grandfather. And so we’re doing innovations, probably one or two a year. And then we’ll within our play knob Creek will go we’ve done single barrel rise, single barrel Bourbons, can strength. We do different things, all limited releases, because folks like Jeff said, they want different stuff. They don’t want the same thing over and over and over. If we see something that really hits hard, like we did a base right and dark raw, which was, oh, I’ve got an idea that we could maybe execute for next
years festival Why don’t we do a blend of jack daniels and Jim Beam for bourbon and beyond 2019
I go say won’t ever
and they’ll tell you what how drunk were you to when you agreed to
have your people talk to my
so you get this ball rolling Fred
should we have it for next year?
I would say this so I think it when you’re looking at Tennessee and Kentucky you’re definitely looking at some of the world’s best spirits when it comes to whiskeys and you can’t go wrong if you will explore around I think you’re going to find there’s something they’re just gonna like. Oh yeah, for sure. So what you’re saying it’s better than Canada.
Well, it’s different than Canada we have different rules. We have Canadian whiskey brand is
people like and more power to them. We got scotch whiskey brands.
get us in trouble. Yeah, we got Canadian. You know, I’ve recently become a fan of shared scotches oh you know students don’t smoke repeat but I’m open to trying new things.
Well gentlemen, if you all if anyone in the audience has anything lab, I know you to do. I just poured you like four fingers there. Grab what you have a lap. Let’s toast it to, to Fred know and Jeff Barnett chairs and now you all
Transcribed by https://otter.ai