Jack Daniel’s Names Chris Fletcher As Its New Master Distiller

Of the many master distiller roles out there across the whisk(e)y industry, one of the most high profile is certainly the position at Jack Daniel’s in Tennessee. Until recently this spot was held for a good number of years by one Jeff Arnett. His stepping away from it last month, however, created an opening, and now Daniel’s assistant master distiller Chris Fletcher has been formally tapped to take up the master distilling mantle.

Jack Daniel’s new master distiller Chris Fletcher, noted the brand, had previously served in the role as assistant master distiller for six years. Playing into his story is also the fact he is born and raised in Lynchburg, where the distillery is located, and also that he heralds from a family distilling tradition, being the grandson of former master distiller Frank Bobo, who served in the role from 1966 until his retirement in 1989.

Jack Daniel's new master distiller Chris Fletcher

Jack Daniel’s new master distiller Chris Fletcher (image via Jack Daniel’s)

Fletcher’s work at Jack Daniel’s interestingly 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, picking up the position he was in before today’s promotion.

“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 Fletcher in a prepared statement. “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.

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“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.”

“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,” added 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.”

In his new role Fletcher 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.”