Jack Daniel’s Distillery named Lynchburg’s Chris Fletcher as its new master distiller on Wednesday replacing Jeff Arnett, who had held the position since April 2008.
Fletcher, 39, had previously served for six years as Assistant Master Distiller and will be responsible for the overall quality of Jack Daniel’s from “grain to glass,” innovation and serve as a global ambassador. In addition, he will oversee the distillery’s new “Distillers in Training” program which aims to recruit, teach, and mentor the next generation of whiskey makers.
Born and raised in Lynchburg, and now carrying on a family tradition, Fletcher is the grandson of former Master Distiller Frank Bobo, who served in the role from 1966 until his retirement in 1989.
“For the past six years, Chris has been right there and involved in every major distillery innovation, product and enhanced production process while ensuring our Tennessee Whiskey is of the highest character and quality,” said Larry Combs, Jack Daniel Distillery SVP and General Manager. “Chris has whiskey making in his blood, but he also has this incredible and unique combination of knowledge, expertise and creativity that will position us well into the future. Folks like Chris don’t come along every day, and backed by our tremendous senior leadership team, I have no doubt that he will flourish in this new role.”
“It’s an honor to be named Master Distiller here at Jack Daniel’s and join a line of folks who’ve made the best whiskey in the world,” said Chris Fletcher. “Over the last 17 years, I’ve been able to learn and work alongside so many talented whiskey makers, and I am very grateful for the mentors I’ve had, including Jeff Arnett who taught me so much. Our distillery and team here in Lynchburg are the best in the business, and I cannot wait to continue working with them crafting the world’s favorite Tennessee Whiskey.”
Fletcher’s work at Jack Daniel’s stretches back to 2001 when he worked as a part-time tour guide while attending college. He graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Tennessee Technological University in 2003 and began work as a chemist with Brown-Forman in Research & Development for eight years. Following several years working in the bourbon industry, Fletcher came back home to the Jack Daniel Distillery and was named Assistant Master Distiller.
He, his wife, Ashley, and three-month old son, Payne Thomas, live in Lynchburg, Tennessee.