An American Tradition: Jack Daniel’s

Thanksgiving…an American tradition. This holiday is arguably my favorite. Friends, food, and giving thanks…what more can you ask for? (Yes, a Nikon D3 and a MacBook Pro would be nice but the season of consumerism begins tomorrow.)Jack Daniel

As we enjoy one American tradition today, perhaps we should enjoy another…

In 1866, Mr. Jack Daniel created an American icon when he licensed the now famous distillery that carries his name.  Jack Daniel’s distillery was the first licensed distillery in the USA, and few brands (beverage or otherwise) are more associated with “America” than Jack Daniel’s Old Number 7 Tennessee Whiskey.

The distillery has always been in the same spot although all the buildings have been rebuilt.  This icon survived the Great Depression, Prohibition, and being based in a dry county.  The recipe, Old Number 7, has never changed and the process of making this fine whiskey is still passed down through families. (Regardless of what you hear, the legend of “Number 7” remains a mystery.)  There is a sense of pride at the distillery that is rarely seen among employees of any company.

I recently had a chance to visit the distillery in Lynchburg, TN.  The employees of the Jack Daniel’s distillery are very serious…and proud…about what they do.  They should be.  They are part of a proud tradition that results in a mighty fine libation.

How has the distillery been able to produce the same, excellent product for more than a century with a consistency only dreamed of by many?  One could argue the unconcious application of many management principles or some super secret technology applied to Old Number 7 beyond the prying eyes of the public.  My bet is on a simple saying that is proudly displayed in Jack Daniel’s original office.

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