What’s more iconic than the Jack Daniel’s black and white label? The distinctive lettering and filigree are as recognizable on a t-shirt as they are behind the bar. And while Mr. Jack’s whiskey hasn’t changed much in more than 150 years, that label sure has.
The trademark Jack Daniel’s black label was introduced in 1910 by Lem Motlow as a way to honor his ailing Uncle Jack. Since then, that timeless label has become a fixture around the world. Prior to the introduction of the black label, the whiskey’s sole sales agent, who oversaw the bottling process, was responsible for the labels on Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. While it is unclear whether the agent designed the labels or it was some other party, it is known that the Distillery did not create those first few designs, and they bared little resemblance to the whiskey label we know today.
For the first time, the many iterations of the Jack Daniel’s label are being revealed with the launch of a Legacy Edition series of whiskey. Currently, two special edition bottles have been released, and they might be unrecognizable to even the most loyal of Jack’s friends. The first Legacy Edition release label features a light green background with gold trim, while the second more recent release is predominantly black with red accents and a font reminiscent of a much earlier time.
To learn more about these early labels as well as the significance of the black label we all know and love today, host Lucas Hendrickson sat down with Jack Daniel’s historian Nelson Eddy, who for 32 years has uncovered and shared the rich, bold history of the iconic brand.
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Join us for this episode of Around the Barrel as we unearth details on what the labels, both past and present, can teach us, get a brief history lesson on Prohibition in Tennessee, and imagine a world where the Jack Daniel’s label is a poor fit for a rock-and-roll t-shirt.