The drought of JackThis summer has produced in East and Middle Tennessee a drought situation which borders on the moderate to extreme. White Pine, the little town that I call home, is presently under a no-burn order thanks to the local Fire Department, where I am a member of the all-Volunteer force. I happened to be at the Fire Hall for a little while yesterday when a call came through from officials in nearby Baneberry for our fire chief inquiring as to whether he thought they should enact a no-burn rule for the duration of the drought.
The drought has gotten so bad that the production of Tennessee's most famous export could be threatened. The cave spring where Jack Daniel's Distillery gets the iron-free water that serves as the base for the whiskey that is famous around the world threatens now to run dry. It might be a laughing matter were it not for the reality that Jack cannot be made correctly without this critical ingredient. Water with too much iron in it significantly alters the taste of any whiskey, so ordinary tap water, bottled water, or mineral water should not be used.
It should be remembered that while Jack Daniel's still is the most famous legal still in Tennessee, there is another in nearby Tullahoma. Considering the water situation in Lynchburg, I also have to wonder if the spring at Cascade Hollow is also running low. This is the water used by the George Dickel Distillery in making their whiskey. The folks at Jack are saying that they are taking measures to conserve water, but if the water runs out, they can't make whiskey until water returns. If the spring in Tullahoma is also low, George is in a similar situation. In about seven years, Tennessee whiskey barreled in 2007 could be at a real premium.
This may seem a novelty to some, but the federal and State governments are not laughing at all, I am sure, about the possibility of losing the billions of dollars of tax revenue that the whiskey barreled and bottled at these two historic stills provides. On top of that, I doubt Tennesseans will enjoy seeing one of our State's iconic exports run low, whether you are a whiskey drinker or not.
This is a severe drought situation that we are now laboring under, while other parts of the country are receiving rain by the ton (at least it seems). It is affecting our gardens, our lawns, our crops (which are going to be non-existent at the rate we are going), and now it is threatening our whiskey. When the tobacco, corn, soybean, and hay crops are gone, we shall not be able to drink our sorrow away.
(Hat Tip: Michael Silence)
If we can be delivered from the drought of 2007, we need it now.