The top-selling American whiskey brand is 151 years old. Jack Daniel’s Tennesee Whiskey celebrated its 150th this past year by taking its show from its hometown, Lynchburg, Tenn., on the road to New York City, Chicago and Miami. It was only one of several activities that the brand launched around an anniversary truly worth celebrating, including a pop-up honky tonk in London.
At a time when millennials are trending toward spirits and craft beer away from mainstream brands, Jack Daniels has been enjoying a revival of sorts with the generation. They’re enjoying the flagship “Black Label” product in the square bottle that has been distilled by brand owner Brown-Forman since 1956.
“There are three key things we would like consumers to know,” Svend Jansen, global PR manager for Brown-Forman, told us. “First, Jack Daniel was a real man … our history and heritage all started with Jack himself. It was his passion and entrepreneurship that gave us this unique whiskey.”
Second, Jansen said, “We want people to know that every drop of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 sold anywhere in the world is still distilled, matured and bottled in the tiny town of Lynchburg” and that it’s the skill and dedication of employees, as much as the ingredients themselves, that make the product and brand unique.
And third, Jansen continued, “We want to remind consumers that making whiskey is an art form and one we’ve been honing for 150 years now.”
The strength of its business helped Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel’s, “return to growth on a GAAP basis in the period ended July 31, aided by a surge in sales to emerging markets, as well as the strong performance of its Woodford Reserve whiskey and Herradura tequila brands,” noted Bloomberg. “Brown-Forman also raised its earnings projection for the remainder of the fiscal year as it launches Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye and continues to emphasize ready-to-drink beverages.”
Sales in the United States, the company’s largest market, rose 10 percent, driven by across-the-board gains for Jack Daniel’s, including Tennessee Whiskey, Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Fire and Gentleman Jack.
Earlier this year, Brown-Forman took on a bigger forum for proclaiming the wonders of the Jack Daniel’s brand, becoming the official spirit brand of the National Basketball Association. The partnership—Jack Daniel’s biggest with a professional sports league—kicked off with the NBA All-Star Game in February and will expand significantly this fall.
Next up: the charcoal-mellowed Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye, launching in October—its first new recipe since Prohibition. “Our whiskey-making process is so special, and it just makes sense for us to create our version of one of America’s first whiskeys,” said master distiller Jeff Arnett.
“This is rye whiskey made Jack’s way. We think our grain bill provides the ideal taste and character—one that’s bold and balanced and not dominated by one flavour.”