Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, state economic development officials and Brown-Forman/Jack Daniel’s leaders today celebrated the grand opening of the Jack Daniel Cooperage in Trinity, a community near Decatur.
The brand new facility, located at the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex, will employ 200-plus workers when fully operational. The cooperage produces the solid American white oak barrels that are toasted and charred for maturing Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, the No. 1-selling whiskey brand in the world that’s enjoyed in more than 160 countries.
“The American whiskey category is booming with exports of Tennessee Whiskey and bourbon eclipsing $1 billion for the first time last year,” said John Hayes, senior vice president, managing director of Jack Daniel’s. “We want to be able to satisfy the world’s thirst for our premium Tennessee Whiskey, and having this state-of-the-art cooperage will help us meet that demand. We couldn’t be happier with this new facility and the great welcome we’ve received from the people of Alabama.”
At today’s event, Hayes noted that Jack Daniel’s has historical ties to Alabama. Back in the early 1900s, the nephew of company founder Jack Daniel moved operations to Birmingham, when Tennessee went dry prior to National Prohibition.
Governor Bentley said the cooperage is a welcome addition to Lawrence County’s economy. “Providing new jobs to Alabama residents is my priority, and I appreciate Jack Daniel’s officials for expanding to Trinity, Alabama, and creating 200 jobs. We are proud to know that hard-working Alabamians will produce the company’s classic solid white oak barrels.”
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is made using the finest grains, pure, iron-free spring water, charcoal mellowed and matured in new American oak barrels. Jeff Arnett, master distiller for Jack Daniel’s, said the barrel is responsible for all the color of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and more than half of its flavor and character.
“The barrel couldn’t be more important to our whiskey making process, and helps impart the quality and character of our whiskey that folks have come to know and expect when they see Jack Daniel’s,” Arnett added.
Arnett, a University of Alabama graduate who owns land in Limestone County, said today’s event represented a “homecoming” for him.
Tony Stockton, executive director of the Lawrence County Industrial Development Board, said the Jack Daniel cooperage is a boon to the north Alabama county.
“To have them as the anchor tenant is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all who have been involved in making this project a reality,” Stockton said. “Our team, in conjunction with Brown-Forman, developed an excellent working relationship at the project’s outset and it only grew stronger as construction progressed. We welcome the Jack Daniel Cooperage and their employees to Lawrence County and appreciate the economic impact this industry will have on our county.”
The cooperage is currently producing approximately 400 barrels per day and expects that number to rise to around 700 barrels in the coming weeks. Wood for the barrels comes from the company’s stave mills in Stevenson, Alabama, and Clifton, Tennessee, both of which are in close proximity to the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
AIDT, a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, is assisting the company is assembling its workforce.