Honours and awards: Tennessee Squire

The Tennessee Squire Association was established in February 1956 by the famous Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Following World War II, the demand for Jack Daniel’s whiskey was higher than production could keep up with and their first National Sales Manager, Winton Smith, was looking for a way to keep customers around the country happy while supplies were low. He decided that loyal fans who had written the Distillery saying they could not get any Jack Daniel’s whiskey would instead receive a plot of land, a square inch of unrecorded property on the Distillery’s grounds. This would make them part owners, or Squires, and the first members inducted into the Tennessee Squire Association.

Today, the Tennessee Squire Association is an exclusive club, with many prominent members from the worlds of government, business and entertainment. To become a member, you must be nominated by an existing Squire. By tradition, however, each Squire can only nominate one member in his or her lifetime (thank you, Zackary). There is a secret room reserved for Squires at the Lynchburg Distillery, and not even the tour guides are allowed to mention it.

Ownership of a square inch of the Distillery land is generally unproblematic. From time to time, others request to graze their cattle on it, and occasionally there is trouble with skunks or possums. By and large, however, peace reigns.

The honour of Tennessee Squire is probably one of the more unusual distinctions around today. It goes without saying that it is the more valued because the quality of the product it commemorates remains second to none.