In a business where family tradition tends to matter, Chris Fletcher stepped up Wednesday to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to lead production of the Jack Daniel’s whiskey brand.
The Tennessee distillery introduced Fletcher as master distiller for the flagship brand of Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corp. Fletcher spent six years as assistant master distiller and assumes the top role following Jeff Arnett’s departure after 12 years leading the distillery.
Fletcher, 39, is the grandson of former Jack Daniel’s master distiller Frank Bobo, who served in the role for more than two decades until retiring in 1989. Fletcher’s boyhood home was about three miles from the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, where Jack Daniel’s is produced.
Fletcher sat at his grandfather’s desk while speaking to the media Wednesday. He recalled tagging along with his grandfather at the distillery as a boy and said his grandfather “will always be my vision of a true distiller.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to be in this role,” Fletcher said. “It’s such a special place from a distilling and whiskey-making standpoint.”
Larry Combs, the distillery’s senior vice president and general manager, said Fletcher “represents the generations of families who have worked and continue to work” at the distillery.