Episode 37 - Master Distiller Chris Fletcher: What’s New is Old Again


Most people like to say, “What’s old is new again.” At Jack Daniel’s, it might be more fitting to say, “What’s new is old again.” On our first episode of Season Four of Around the Barrel, we’re joined by the newest Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher, grandson of Master Distiller Frank Bobo and a longtime employee in his own right. He joins host Lucas Hendrickson to shed some light on the challenging year that was, and shares his excitement for things to come as he blends his penchant for innovation into time-honored tradition.


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As we’ve mentioned a time or two, we’re not much for breaking with tradition around here. So as a new year gets underway, we kick off a new season of Around the Barrel, and welcome a new Master Distiller, in truth, the only thing really changing is that number on the calendar.


As we launch into Season 4 of our podcast, host Lucas Hendrickson returns to guide us through the stories of Lynchburg, Jack Daniel’s, and the whiskey industry at large. And that Master Distiller? There’s nothing new about him.


Chris Fletcher is a son of Lynchburg. He grew up at the Distillery watching his late grandfather, Master Distiller Frank “Frog” Bobo, make our world-famous whiskey. With easy access to his grandfather’s encyclopedic knowledge, he naturally forged a career in the spirits industry and has found his own footing through the years.


While in college earning a degree in chemistry, Chris spent summers working as a tour guide at the Distillery, and then ventured out to develop his expertise in quality control and experience the workings of other distilleries. He returned to his hometown in 2014, when he was named Jack Daniel’s first Assistant Master Distiller, working under Master Distiller Jeff Arnett. Six years later, he was named Master Distiller and Director of Quality, a role he’s been preparing for all his life.


There is little question that Chris essentially is Jack Daniel’s – like us, he has deep roots in Lynchburg, a commitment to tradition and quality, and a passion for innovation. In fact, many of our most recent experimental endeavors like the Tennessee Tasters’ Selection series are his brainchild.


While this is not Chris’s first appearance on Around the Barrel, it’s the first of his new role, and certainly not the last. As we kickstart our new season, it is a fitting time for reflection, both on the past year and the past 150+ years, the current state of the Distillery, and the exciting things that lie ahead. Join us for a new conversation among old friends as we gather again Around the Barrel.

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