For the past 20 years, fans of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey have had Jimmy Bedford to thank for the consistency of the product.
On March 31, he'll step down as master distiller, the job he has held for the last 20 of his 40 years at the distillery. A successor is expected to be named shortly afterward.
Bedford, 68, is only the sixth master distiller in the history of the company.
"It's been 40 enjoyable years for me," Bedford said. "Being part of making a product that's shipped around the world, I've had a lot of satisfaction in doing that."
Jack Daniel's is the flagship brand of Louisville, KY-based Brown-Forman Corp., with annual sales of more than 9 million cases in 135 countries.
Bedford hails from the Lynchburg, TN, area where Jack Daniel's is located and lives on a nearby farm. He worked in construction projects at the distillery as a high school and college student, then joined the compant fulltime in 1968 in the supervisor training program under then-master-distiller Frank Bobo.
Over the years, the facility has grown to include the sprawling visitors center and a worldwide reputation as the leading Tennessee sour mash whiskey.
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