Jack Daniel's production changing hands, but Old No. 7 still distilled by Tennessean

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The tradition-rich task of overseeing production of the famed Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey brand is passing from one native Tennessean to another.

Jeff Arnett was named master distiller at the historic Jack Daniel Distillery at Lynchburg, Tenn., on Wednesday. He succeeds his mentor for the past seven years, Jimmy Bedford.

The 41-year-old Arnett joins an exclusive group, becoming just the seventh master distiller of Jack Daniel's whiskey, the flagship brand for Louisville-based liquor company Brown-Forman Corp.

Bedford retired last month after a 40-year career at Jack Daniel's, the last 20 as master distiller in which he became the promotional face behind the product.

Arnett said he was humbled to follow in the footsteps of past master distillers, but said he was prepared after being involved in almost every aspect of whiskey making as Bedford's understudy.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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