This Is the New Whiskey From Former Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett
Company Distilling will open its first tasting room this year in Tennessee
Former Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller will now be part of Company Distilling, a new distillery set to open in the fall of 2021 in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
According to a press release, the founders include Arnett; Kris Tatum, former president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild; Corey Clayton, a construction management professional; Heath Clark, founder of H. Clark Distillery; and Clayton Homes, CEO Kevin Clayton.
“In 2009, Tennessee was home to only three distilleries, but now craft spirits are flowing from many counties across the state,” Tatum said in a statement. “We’re proud to be a Tennessee distillery and stand behind our meticulously crafted spirits.”
Their first release? “It’s straight bourbon whiskey finished with maple wood to produce a sip like no other,” says Arnett. “It’s hard to believe it’s finally real. And it’s better than we ever imagined.”
The first Company Distilling location to open this year will be a 4,000-square-foot tasting room and restaurant in Townsend, TN, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A mixed-use, 20,000-square-foot facility in Springbrook Farm will later serve as the primary distillery (and as a restaurant/tasting room/brewery/store), as well the location for the spirit’s main manufacturing. That’s scheduled to open in 2022.
Arnett spent over two decades at Jack Daniel’s. While at the distillery, the Tennessee whiskey giant introduced Sinatra Select, Single Barrel Barrel Proof, Bottled-in-Bond expressions, various rye releases and a number of other innovations. In 2019, over 13 million nine-liter cases of Jack Daniel’s whiskey were sold globally, with sales increasing each year since 2011.
When I ventured down to the Jack Daniel’s distillery in 2015, I spoke with Arnett. “Since 1866, there have been 20 U.S. presidents and 12 Catholic popes, but only seven Master Distillers. So being at this job is about three times better than being president and twice as good as being pope,” he said at the time.
Still, staying at any job for over 20 years can take its toll, and Arnett is now free from any corporate restraints; the tagline of his new company is literally “The whiskey we always wanted to make.”
Lynchburg native Chris Fletcher took over as Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s last October.
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