Episode 35 - The Magic of Barrel Raising with Darrell Davis


The importance of the barrel in whiskey making cannot be overstated. It is so important, in fact, that at Jack Daniel’s, we don’t trust anyone else to make it. On this episode of Around the Barrel, host Lucas Hendrickson visits the Jack Daniel Cooperage alongside plant manager Darrell Davis to learn about the painstaking process that goes into building this magic vessel that creates the color, flavor and character of our world-famous whiskey.


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Some believe that the magic of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey happens in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and while that is true, that magic actually begins about 77 miles to the southwest in the tiny town of Trinity, Alabama. Trinity is home to the Jack Daniel Cooperage and the 1,300 barrels it raises each day. Those barrels are not merely containers for the whiskey, but rather crucial vessels that impart the flavor, color and nuance that we’re known for.

To truly appreciate the importance of these barrels and the role they play, you must first understand the considerable care that goes into raising (not building) each one. On this episode of Around the Barrel, host Lucas Hendrickson takes a trip to Trinity to visit with plant manager Darrell Davis and learn more about the time-honored art of barrel raising.

Jack Daniel’s is the only major whiskey maker that manufactures its own barrels, a testament to their significance. Allowing someone else to make our barrels would mean giving up control of this very important process, something we’re not keen on doing.

Every Jack Daniel’s barrel is born as an American white oak tree in the Tennessee Valley. Those white oak logs are then cut down into staves, the building blocks of the magical barrels. Our skilled cooperage team takes it from there, shaping, cutting, inspecting, molding, raising, toasting and charring. Any misstep can have devastating effects on the whiskey destined to mature within. By the time our whiskey makes it into your glass, that barrel has imparted nearly 70% of its taste, and 100% of its color. So come join us Around the Barrel and raise a glass to it for a job well done.

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