A Legacy Betrayed
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is a simple reminder that some things just never
change. And shouldn’t. This is the old-time whiskey made as our fathers
made it. Remaining true to Jack Daniel’s original recipe and charcoal-mellowed
character means folks today enjoy the same sipping whiskey awarded seven international
So says Jack's Daniel's web site. Rather inspiring,
isn't it? Such noble sentiments should warm the
cockles of the most cynical drunkard's heart.
not a word of it is true. For the second time since
the Brown-Forman Corporation acquired the distillery
in 1956, they have lowered the proof of Jack Daniel's
Black Label Tennessee Whiskey. Fifteen years ago
they dropped its original 90 proof to 86, and very
recently, and might I say with zero fanfare, they
degraded it to 80 proof.
Alert drunkard Chris Sharp brought this unfathomable
blasphemy to my attention and I feel it my sworn
duty to bring it to yours.
"I was outraged," says Sharp, a once avid Jack drinker. "They
continue to claim in their ads that they stick to tradition. Tradition, my ass.
If they think that people will take this sitting down they are sadly mistaken."
You're probably wondering why they would do such
a thing. Why would they tamper with the 138-year-old
recipe their entire reputation is built upon? A
formula as storied and mythic as the man who created
it? The Brown-Forman Corporation wouldn't return
my calls, but they did deign to respond to Mr.
Sharp's seething emails.
The main reason we lowered the proof is because we’ve noticed in recent
years folks tend to prefer lower-proof products, and this includes most of our
friends who enjoy our Tennessee Whiskey. This has not hurt sales of Jack Daniel’s.
There you have it. You see, this historic liquor,
this icon for drinkers the world over is now merely
a "product" at the mercy of a cynical corporation's
most recent marketing survey. It's akin to turning the Gettysburg Battlefield
into an amusement park because, by Mammon, a survey says that's what some anonymous "folks" want.
They crunched their numbers then promptly sold out the legacy Jack Daniel and
his descendents spent their lifetimes building.
I have a news flash for the smug whiz kids in the
marketing department at the Brown-Forman Corporation.
There are one helluva lot of people who prefer Mr.
Daniel's original 90 proof recipe, the very recipe
they lie about "remaining
true" to. Furthermore, the reason their treason
hasn't hurt their bottom line is because no
one knew about it. If they truly believed it was what the "folks" wanted,
why didn't they tell anyone? After a very thorough search, I turned up not
a single mention of their decision in the media.
Mr. Sharp has started an online petition and boycott
designed to right this grievous wrong. I urge you
make your voice heard.
is, of course, a private corporation and they can
do whatever the hell they want with their "product." They can lower the proof to zero
and call it lemonade if they like. But that doesn't mean we have to drink it.
Which is why the MDM staff has unanimously sworn
off Jack until Brown-Forman honors the legacy
of the man whose name is on the bottle. For the
love of Jack, I hope you'll join us.
response has been tremendous. In a few short weeks
the petition has gathered over
12,000 signatures, their treachery has been thoroughly
exposed in the mainstream press, and Brown-Forman
is strictly on the defensive.
B-F is much more interested in profits then
honoring a true American tradition, it's going
to take a lot more heat to make them restore Jack's
With this in mind, please take a
moment to email Phil Lynch (VP of Corporate
Communications and Public Relations at Brown-Forman)
and let him know how you feel.