Good Ol’ Jack Daniels is a whiskey fabricated by the Jack Daniels’ distillery. It exists since 1875, so it’s going strong for at least 120 years. Jack is the 4th best selling spirit in the world (by value), making it the best-selling American spirit.
Legend says that Frank Sinatra loved Jack so much that he was buried with a bottle. Though, don’t quote me on that, as it might just be a rumor.
Also, legend says that the (Old No.7) on the label pertains to one of three rumors:
- Daniel had seven girlfriends;
- The number seven train was the one that carried his barrels;
- Or he lost one of his prized barrels for seven years.
Whatever the answer is, the truth is yet unknown.
What we know is that Jack is the 2nd best-selling whiskey among travelers at duty-free shops in the world. So, would it be wise to buy a bottle for a vegan friend? Or take advantage of the duty-free price to buy a good ol bottle of Jack Daniels?
Well, it may be accidental, but Jack is actually vegan.
What Is Jack Daniels Made Of?
The mash for Jack Daniels is made from corn, rye, malted barley, and is distilled in copper stills.
The mash is then filtered through maple sugar charcoal. This process, also known as the Lincoln Country Process, removes the impurities and taste of corn. After the filtering, the whiskey is matured in brand-new oak barrels, giving the whiskey its brownish color.
Additionally, they don’t use any sort of sealants (glue) in the barrels, nor additives (artificial flavors or colors). Therefore, the product is by all means considered vegan.
There were rumors from people going on distillery tours suggesting the whiskey was filtered through 2 feet of wool. However, the company has dispelled those rumors ever since. There is no wool or any animal by-products used in the process. Furthermore, as I said, the whiskey is filtered through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal.
Where Is Jack Daniels Produced?
To be labeled a Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniels must be produced in Tennessee and abide by the specific quality and production standards.
This suggests there is a legitimate ethical code that is followed, unlike companies that own or outsource work to factories in countries where the rights of people are violated. Low-pay, child labor, excessive hours, are all factors present in poor, eastern countries.
In other words, Jack Daniel’s production is truly set on American grounds, hence why there’s little to no room for any sort of human exploitation.
Not All American Whiskeys Are Vegan.
While the majority of whiskeys are vegan, there are exceptions.
For example, a single malt Scotch whiskey is made from malted barley and water. A grain Scotch whiskey might include grains in addition to the malted or unmalted barley and water.
All of which are safe for vegans to consume.
However, American whiskey typically uses a vaster variety of ingredients. At a glance, you can find American whiskeys that are primarily based on wheat, corn, rye, malted barley or malted rye. By all means, these are considered vegan.
The problem arises when you look at the additives in whiskey. Various American whiskeys add honey to achieve a sweeter flavor. That makes the product non-safe for a great number of vegans.
Vegans also avoid cream whiskey liqueurs because the cream is typically derived from cow’s milk.
Other Alcoholic May Also Be Questionable.
Another issue is also found in the production of certain beverages. Alcoholic beverages like beer or wine oftentimes use animal by-products to filter or process beverage.
- Gelatin (made from animals’ body parts)
- Caseinates (proteins within cow’s milk)
- Isinglass (made from fish bladders)
- Animal albumin (made from eggs or dried blood)
All substances that are not used in the whiskey-making process.
However, in some rare cases, distilleries may also use wool to filter whiskey. In which case, you ought to contact the company at hand to ask. Otherwise, I’m afraid that would make the whiskey not suitable for vegans.
Packaging Is Also An Issue.
For those that are a bit stricter, the use of adhesives/glue to attach labels to a bottle might be problematic. That’s what distilleries do, after all.
Sadly, some of the adhesives may have casein, as well as other polymers. This is another case where you need to contact the company at hand to figure out the truth.
Other than that potential issue, Jack Daniel’s is among a selected group of American whiskeys that is vegan.
Verdict: Jack Daniel’s Is Suitable For Vegans.
This whiskey is vegan because it does not contain animal-based ingredients. Not in the whiskey, nor in the processing or maturing stage.
What might be questionable is the adhesive (or glue) used to stick the label onto the bottle. It is not uncommon for glues to have casein, a protein within cow’s milk.
If you are a stricter vegan, I would recommend you contact the company to obtain as much information as possible. Especially if you can’t live without Jack. 🙂