While in Chattanooga, I touched base with Roger Brashears, the head of public relations at the Jack Daniel’s distillery. He has worked for the distillery since 1963–Mr. Jack was only there for 29 years–and fits perfectly with the down-home image so carefully tended by Brown-Forman, the corporate owners since 1956.
Roger, operating out of an office that looks like a paper recycling center, has to have one of the most fun jobs in the world, showing folks around Jack Daniels and pulling the legs of visiting writers. Here are some vintage Brashearisms:
- Question: How many people work at the distillery? Answer: “About half of them.”
- Question: Have things changed here? Answer: “No. We ain’t gonna kick a pulling mule.”
- On relating that the young Jack Daniel came to live with Rev. Call, a Lutheran minister who made whiskey: “I guess you could say Call was Lynchburg’s leading spiritual advisor.”
- On barbecue: “We got some good old boys down here who make barbecue so good, it’ll make your tongue jump out your mouth and slap your eyebrows.”