BARRELS AREN’T BUILT. THEY’RE RAISED.
We aren’t just putting our whiskey into barrels. We’re entrusting it to them. Our whiskey will spend a good amount of time there, drawing all of its rich amber color and much of its distinctive flavor from the barrels. Barrels are such a big part of our whiskey's character, it’s why we make them ourselves. It isn't easy. And it’s probably why we’re one of the only distilleries in the world that does it.
Our barrels are made of mainly two materials—American White Oak and meticulous American craftsmanship. They aren’t held together by glue or nails, but by the sheer pressure of the wood’s precise arrangement. 33 separate wood staves, to be exact. No two the same size. It’s a task too meticulous to be carried out on an automated assembly line. Once assembled, the barrel’s interior is toasted and charred to coax the wood’s natural sugars out and caramelize them. Those sugars are such an important part of where our whiskey flavor develops, we’ve painstakingly developed our own method of toasting our barrels that’s exclusive to Jack Daniel’s.
All this precision and hands-on effort for a barrel we use once. After our barrels are finished imparting their flavor to our whiskey, they’re reused by hot sauce makers, beer brewers, and Scotch whisky distillers. Because these barrels were once home to our Tennessee Whiskey, we like to think we’ve done our part to help make those products just a little better.
We’ve also been doing our part to promote sustainability by protecting and preserving our supply of the white oak wood that makes our barrels. Check out how we’re doing it.