To tipplers and teetotalers alike, Jack Daniel’s is a name that has become synonymous with American whiskey. The history of this iconic brand dates all the way back to the mid-19th century, when a young man named Jasper Newton Daniel – better known as Jack – started a distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. As one of the oldest existing brands of the South, Jack Daniel’s success was hard-one and its legacy as one of the most recognizable and beloved whiskey brands in the world continues to live on more than 150 years later.

Jack Daniel was born in 1846 in Tennessee, the youngest of 10 children. His father died when he was young, and he was raised by his mother and a slave named Uncle Nearest, who taught him the art of distilling. At the age of 13, Jack ran away from home and went to work for Dan Call, a local preacher and distiller, where he honed his skills and developed his own unique recipe for whiskey.

In 1866, at the age of 21, Jack established his own distillery, which he named “Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7.” The whiskey he produced was different from anything else on the market at the time thanks to the Lincoln County Process, a system that involves filtering whiskey through charcoal before aging, giving it a distinct flavor, smoothness, and complexity. It was a process that Jack himself perfected, and it quickly became a hallmark of the Jack Daniel’s brand.

In the early years, Jack Daniel’s whiskey was primarily sold locally, but as the brand’s reputation grew, so did its distribution. In 1904, the company won a gold medal at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, and soon after, it began exporting its whiskey to countries around the world. By the 1920s, Jack Daniel’s was the best-selling whiskey in the United States, and it had become a symbol of American culture and tradition not just in the U.S., but to whiskey aficionados everywhere.

Despite its many triumphs, the brand’s journey to success was not without challenges along the way. In 1906, a fire destroyed Jack’s distillery, forcing him to rebuild from scratch. Less than 5 years later, Tennessee passed a statewide prohibition law, which made it illegal to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages within its borders. Jack Daniel’s was forced to shut down, and it wasn’t until the national repeal of prohibition that the company was able to resume production. Despite over 20 years of having his hands tied legally, Jack’s spirit remained intact, and in 1933 he was back in business and more determined than ever.

Today, Jack Daniel’s is owned by Brown-Forman Corporation, a multinational company that also owns other well-known alcohol brands, such as Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, and Herradura. Despite its corporate ownership, Jack Daniel’s remains deeply connected to its roots, and the company takes great pride in its heritage and traditions. The distillery still sits in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and visitors from around the world come to tour the facilities and learn about the history of this iconic brand.

From humble beginnings in a small Tennessee town to global star status, Jack Daniel’s has been an enduring symbol of American culture and tradition for more than 150 years. And like its iconic charcoal-mellowed whiskey, the brand is only getting better with age.