In September 2020 Master Distiller Jeff Arnett announced he was leaving Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Arnett worked at Jack Daniel for nearly 20 years and served as the companies Master Distiller since 2008. When he announced his departure from the world’s No. 1 selling whiskey Arnett said, “It has been an honor and privilege to be one of only a handful of people to have served as the Master Distiller of this wonderful brand known around the world as simply ‘Jack’.” He added, “The last 20 years at the Jack Daniel Distillery have been an incredible chapter in my life and I look forward to spending some time to think about what the next chapter will hold.”
We now know what that next chapter holds. Master Distiller Jeff Arnett and friends have announced the launch of Tennessee’s newest distillery Company Distilling, set to open in the fall of 2021 in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
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In addition to Arnett, Company Distilling founders include Kris Tatum, former president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild, Corey Clayton, an accomplished construction management professional, Heath Clark, founder of H. Clark Distillery, and Clayton Homes, CEO Kevin Clayton.
“It’s this collaboration between friends seeking to produce a spirit worth gathering over that sparked the Company Distilling name,” said Company Distilling President, Kris Tatum. “Not only will the whiskey be best when enjoyed among good company, but the distillery’s property provides ample opportunities for gathering and outdoor fun.”
Company Distilling will be opening in multiple locations over the next couple of years.
The first Company Distilling location to open will be a 4,000-square-foot tasting room and restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, later this year. Set along the Little River with the Townsend Greenway running along the front of the 13.5-acre property, the tasting room will offer access to cycling, running and nearby mountain biking and hiking trails.
Company Distilling also has future plans to expand its footprint to Middle Tennessee, just south of Nashville, in 2022 with a tasting room, retail store and tours located in Thompson’s Station at what is currently known as H Clark Distillery.
The third location will be the largest located in Alcoa, Tennessee. Set to open in 2022, the mixed-use, family-friendly facility in Springbrook Farm, a master planned “city center” will serve as the primary distillery and the location for the spirit’s main manufacturing. The 20,000-square-foot refurbished building with a casual, mountain-inspired theme, will include a tasting room, restaurant, brewery and retail store along with ample outdoor activities and entertainment on the property’s 31 acres including a live music venue, corn hole, pickle ball courts, bonfire pits, and open access to greenway trails.
The $27 Million Investment to Fuel TN Whiskey Industry
The $27 million investment is expected to bring 60 initial new jobs to the area and that number is expected to grow over time. This growth in jobs, and ultimately economic welfare, will be felt beyond the immediate operations and across industries as the distillery will rely on the agricultural industry for its thoughtfully sourced ingredients and will provide growth for the Tennessee whiskey industry. Update: The original investment amount released by the state was $20.2 million. After talking with Kris Tatum we learned that number has now grown to $25 to $27 million.
“In 2009, Tennessee was home to only three distilleries, but now craft spirits are flowing from many counties across the state,” Tatum added. “We’re proud to be a Tennessee distillery and stand behind our meticulously crafted spirits.”
“For years now, we’ve had this spirit in the back of our minds,” said Arnett. “It’s straight bourbon whiskey finished with maple wood to produce a sip like no other. It’s hard to believe it’s finally real. And it’s better than we ever imagined.”
Tennessee Gov. Lee Welcomes New Investment in Great Smoky Mountains
“Congratulations to Blount County and all parties involved in this new venture,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. “Both locations will showcase some of many reasons that the Great Smoky Mountains is a top place for people from all over the world to visit. Company Distilling’s investment in Blount County is further proof that East Tennessee is a top location to do business.”
“The distilling industry is one that integrates the agriculture, tourism and hospitality industries while benefitting the communities where they are located,” said Matt Murray, Chairman of the Blount County Economic Development Board.
“For Blount County to have a group of proven industry and business leaders bring a project of this magnitude here is something that will pay dividends for generations to come. I commend Gov. Lee and the state of Tennessee for their readiness to back ventures like this on behalf of the Blount County Economic Development Board, I’m happy to welcome the Company Distilling and their leadership to Blount County and East Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.
Old No. 7’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett Calling it Quits after 20 Years at Jack Daniels Distillery
Jack Daniels Names Chris Fletcher as the New Master Distiller – Grandson of Famed Master Distiller Frank Bobo
Tennessee Native Lexie Phillips Becomes Jack Daniel Distillery’s 1st Female Assistant Distiller