Ex-Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnet to make new whiskey in Tennessee

Company Distilling will first open a 4,000-square-foot (3,712-square-meter) tasting room and restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee.

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Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee., drills a hole in a barrel of whiskey in one of the aging houses at the distillery in 2009.

Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, drills a hole in a barrel of whiskey in one of the aging houses at the distillery in 2009.

AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The former top distiller at Jack Daniel’s announced earlier this week that he and several partners are opening a new whiskey distillery near the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

Company Distilling will first open a 4,000-square-foot (3,712-square-meter) tasting room and restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee, former Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett and his partners said. A 20,000-square-foot (1,858-square-meter) main distillery in Alcoa and a tasting room in Thompson Station, closer to Nashville, will follow next year.

Arnett is teaming up with former Tennessee Distillers Guild President Kris Tatum; construction businessman Corey Clayton; founder of H. Clark Distillery Heath Clark, and Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton. The initiative is expected to include a $20 million investment and provide 50 to 60 jobs.

Company Distilling’s locations will be geared toward the outdoors. The 31-acre (13-hectare) main distillery location in Alcoa will include a tasting room, restaurant, brewery, retail store, a live music venue, cornhole, pickle ball courts, bonfire pits and open access to greenway trails, according to the news release.

The Townsend location will be along the Little River with the Townsend Greenway in the front of the 13.5-acre (5-hectare) property, offering access to cycling, running and nearby mountain biking and hiking trails.

“I would like to say this is the first distillery in this county but you all know it’s not,” joked Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell. “I would like to say this is the first distillery where they asked the mayor to speak at. Things are really changing.”

The distillery will make straight bourbon whiskey finished with maple wood “to produce a sip like no other,” Arnett said in a statement.

In late 2020, Jack Daniel’s announced Arnett’s departure after a nearly 20-year stint with the powerhouse whiskey maker, including 12 years in which he led production.

At an event in Alcoa to announce the new venture, Arnett stressed the pride he felt in the work he accomplished during his time at Jack Daniel’s, but said he was excited about “doing something different” as well.

“I just felt like it was time to move on,” he said.

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