1 October 2014

Whisky Insiders Interview - Jeff Arnett

Jack Daniel's

Master Distiller


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I joined Jack Daniel's 13 years ago as the quality control manager after spending my first 10 years in food & beverages manufacturing with another company.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
There have been many, but the thing I'm most proud of is the continued growth and increasing popularity of Jack Daniel's whiskey during my tenure as master distiller.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Before joining Jack Daniel's, I was a member of the Tennessee squires association and a huge fan of the brand. My first memory was ordering a 'Jack and Coke' in college.

What does whisky mean to you?
For many people, including myself, whiskey is more than a drink choice. It makes a statement about who you are and the things you value as a person. I think Jack Daniel's attracts people who value authenticity and independence and those traits are both important to me as well.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
In five years, I hope Jack Daniel's will be surpassing a well-known Scotch company to become the largest and most loved whiskey brand on the planet.

What was your last dram?
My last dram was a glass of Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select served neat.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I tend to enjoy whiskey either before or after dinner so that I can enjoy each sip to the fullest. Among the Jack Daniel's family of whiskies, I tend to drink Gentleman Jack the most with my meals. It's light vanilla and soft oak notes pair well with fish, chicken and pastas.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
My favourite time to enjoy any whiskey is after work and my favourite place is anywhere my family and friends are.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whiskey horizon?
American whiskey is definitely hot right now and much of this growth is happening in bourbon style and Tennessee whiskey. We expect rye whiskey to also experience a renaissance and have already begun distilling and maturing a high rye content whiskey at Jack Daniel's.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Although Jack Daniel's single barrel is my personal favourite, I think I would have to choose our Old No.7 Black Label if I could only have one. It's been my tried and true choice in whiskey for the last 25 years.

Many thanks to Jeff Arnett. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!