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The legends are colorful and many. Jack Daniel, it is said, ran away to escape a broken home; was a teenage moonshiner during the Civil War; and hauled black-market whiskey, hidden under loads of meat, to the wild river port of Huntsville, Alabama, sneaking into town after midnight to avoid the sheriff and his deputies. Until now, however, no one has explained how this orphaned "boy distiller" went on to establish a legitimate business and create one of the most powerful and widely recognized brands in the world.
In Blood & Whiskey, renowned biographer and business author Peter Krass digs deep into the rich history of Lynchburg, Tennessee, to discover the origins and exploits of its most famous–some say notorious–son. What he finds is an ambitious and charismatic entrepreneur who combined a love of his craft and a natural talent for marketing with far-reaching vision and a fierce determination to succeed against all odds.
From Jack’s youthful days learning the distiller’s art from a former slave to his inspired design for the distinctive, square Jack Daniel’s bottle, this lively biography separates fact from myth as it reveals a man whose real life was as intriguing as the tall tales told about him. It demonstrates convincingly that Jack picked the worst possible time to start his business, with the entire nation in the grip of economic depression, the federal government depending on distillers for half of its revenues, and a growing temperance movement clamoring for universal prohibition.
Writing with a deep understanding of what it takes to build and expand a successful business, Krass explores Jack’s devotion to quality, ready eye for opportunity, and willingness to take risks. These traits enabled Jack Daniel to become the most successful distiller in Tennessee, even as many of his competitors succumbed to the hardships of a hostile business environment.
The author also uncovers the long-lost marketing secret behind the naming of Jack Daniel’s flagship brand, Old No. 7, and the strategy that enabled the Jack Daniel Distillery to compete successfully against such venerable Kentucky brands as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.
Packed with memorable accounts of run-ins with fervent teetotalers and corrupt tax collectors, as well as heartbreaking tales of struggle and privation in post—Civil War Tennessee, Blood & Whiskey tells a classic American success story with a distinctly Southern accent.
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