The Jack Daniel's Master Distiller's Collection bottling honoring Jess Motlow. Image courtesy Brown-Forman via The Moodie Report. August 21, 2013 – Other than the iconic Jack Daniel, no name is more associated with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey than the Motlows. For decades, “Lem Motlow, Prop.” graced the label of every bottle of Jack Daniel’s until the labels were redesigned two years ago. Motlow was Jack Daniel’s nephew, and followed in his uncle’s footsteps when Daniel decided to hand over management of the distillery to Motlow in 1907. ¬†However, Lem Motlow never actually made the whiskey…his younger brother Jess learned the distilling process from Jack Daniel and inherited the title of Master Distiller from Daniel in 1911. He kept the job until 1941 — including the period when the distillery was closed during Prohibition. When Lem Motlow died in 1947, he left the distillery to his four sons, while Jess had already turned over the role of Master Distiller to Lem Tolley and retired. Jess Motlow died in 1957.

Jess Motlow’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the Jack Daniel’s web site as of today, but that’s likely to change soon. The Moodie Report reports Motlow will be featured on the second bottling in the Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller’s Collection range to be unveiled in Cannes at the TFWA World Exhibition at the end of October. Of course, Jack Daniel himself appeared on the first bottling, released last winter at a travel retail conference in Orlando. The range is a travel retail exclusive and will eventually feature all seven of the Jack Daniel’s Master Distillers, including current Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, with plans to release a new bottle every year.

For the record, the seven Master Distillers in Jack Daniel’s history:

Jack Daniel (1866-1911)
Jess Motlow (1911-1941)
Lem Tolley (1941-1964)
Jess Gamble (1964-1966)
Frank Bobo (1966-1992)
Jimmy Bedford (1992-2008)
Jeff Arnett (2008-present)

Links: Jack Daniel’s