When the Motlow family decided to sell the Jack Daniel Distillery and brand to Brown-Forman instead of Schenley, Schenley decided to revive the George A. Dickel Cascade Hollow distillery and create a brand named for Dickel. Since “Old No. 7” was already taken, Schenley did a consumer survey and found that the numbers 8 and 12 were the most popular numbers after the number 7. Thus, was born George Dickel No. 8, 80 proof and George Dickel No.12, 90 proof brands of Tennessee whisky. In order to support the brands, Schenley did extensive research on Dickel’s original distillery and methods of distilling. They read that Dickel always thought the best whisky was made in the winter, so they decided to chill their charcoal mellowing vats to simulate winter temperatures all year round. They then built a distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee just down the road from the original Cascade Hollow distillery.
This photograph shows the new distillery just after it was finished. Note there are no warehouses in the photograph. Schenley decided to build those on top of the hill. They also decided to make them single story warehouses to reduce the variation in the maturation process. The creek in the foreground is fed from the original spring where the previous Cascade hollow distillery got its water. Schenley piped water from that spring to the distillery to make their whisky. They also built a log building across the road from the distillery to serve as a “General Store” and visitor center. Schenley saw the potential of the tourism industry as a way to build a brand. Jack Daniel Distillery was doing it and so would they.
This photograph is from the Schenley engineering department. Schenley placed importance in keeping photographic records of what they built. This distillery was probably the largest engineering project undertaken by the company since the years following the Repeal of Prohibition. A new distillery and warehouse with a visitor center were all built within a couple of years. The new brands would be launched as soon as they had four year old whiskey to bottle, but eventually the No. 12 brand would be whiskey 8 to 10 years of age.
Schenley had hoped that the Dickel brands would eventually outsell Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, but that never happened. The Cascade Hollow Distillery sold what they were producing, but never reached the levels of sales achieved by Brown-Forman at Jack Daniel. Today, they are still distilling and making Dickel whisky. They have also been selling barrels to other companies both in Tennessee and elsewhere. They make very good whiskey and I think its success can be traced back to the research Schenley did before they built this distillery.
Photos from Michael Veach archives and Rosemary Miller