The Lem Motlow whiskey

Besides Jack Daniel's Whiskey there is another whiskey made at the Lynchburg Distillery.
That is the Whiskey of Mr Jack Daniel's nephew Lem Motlow. This rare 90 % and 80 % proof whiskey was made only a few decades and was pulled out of the market because it was "too good".

These days a full and sealed Lem Motlow whiskey bottle is a real collectable for a Jack Daniel's collector and you must have at least one bottle in your collection.

This was my oldest Lem Motlow bottle. It's a half pint, 1913/1918 Birmingham, Al bottle. Estimate value $ 700.00.

click the picture

After Prohibition

In 1938 after Prohibition ended, Lem Motlow resumed production of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey but due to cash flow problems, he could not wait the normal four years for the whiskey to age in the barrels. He began bottling some of the whiskey after only twelve months. This would be distributed as Lem Motlow’s Tennessee Whiskey. The first bottling occurred in November, 1939 and continued until 1942 when the government banned the production of whiskey.

Mr. Motlow was again given permission to produce whiskey in 1946, however, he was not allowed to use the best available grain. He decided not to produce any whiskey until he was able to use the appropriate grain. The grain became available in 1947 and Lem Motlow began production again. Production of this whiskey was discontinued in 1986.

90 % proof Paper sealed Lem Motlow

The first 90 % proof Lem Motlow bottle in my collection... Translation bottles where used in the time that in the US the matrix of bottles changed. This was between 1981 and 1984. Both sizes where embossed on the bottle to prevent mistakes and to make it the public easy to learn and handle the new size. Below you see the 200 ml / 6,8 Oz. The label is a little faded but the paper and plastic seal are pretty good. Lem Motlow’s Tennessee Whiskey was only sold in Tennessee and Georgia.

Lem Motlow printer blocks (Pint size)

This is a complete set of printer blocks used for a half pint size flask from early 80-ties. A complete set is made out of 4 printer blocks for the colors black, red, gold and yellow. Finding a complete set of all 4 blocks is a rare find.

Front of the blocks is made out of copper or zinc. Back side is wood.

---------------Black print ----------------------- Gold color print

------Red color print ----------------- Yellow (Cream) color print

80 % proof Fake sealed Lem Motlow

Here are examples from the 375ml and the 200ml flask bottles. The estimate value for these bottles is around resp. $ 250.00 and $ 500.00. I saw the 375ml for a 500 dollars in a Liqour store in Tennessee during my vacation on October 2000, when I visited the store again in 2001 he still had them for sale...

Picture from the prices...

The 200 ml and 375 ml flasks

the 200 ml flask

375 ml flask

The 750 ml and 1000 ml square bottles

Then there is the normal 750ml size. On auctions you can find them for around $ 300.00. On the right the most rare one (of the regular matric) the 1 liter version. Estimate value for a 1000 ml Lem Motlow bottle is $ 400.00.

750 ml and the 1000 ml Square bottle 86 % proof

Lem Motlow signed distillery postcard

Another cool item I got in my collection is this postcard with Mr Lem Motlow's autograph on it.

Lem Motlow signed distillery check ( I )

This Check is also signed by Mr Lem Motlow.

Lem Motlow signed distillery checks ( II )

These are my own signed checks from the Jack Daniel's company by signed by Lem Motlow. The one on the top is from 16 August 1899 and the one below is from 27 March 1899.

Lem Motlow Signed transportation sheet

Another real old item is this transportation sheet signed by Lem Motlow or Mr Jack Daniel's...

Inheritance check of "Uncle" Jack Daniel's

The next piece of history I bought on my last trip to the US, and what a piece! Below you see a check of $ 800.00 signed by Lem Motlow and Dick Daniel's (cousin of Mr. Jack and owner of the distillery when Mr. Jack Died). This check was part of the inheritance of "Uncle" Jack Daniel's to Mrs. Dora Stephens (who lived in Tullahoma back then). Dated 30 December 1912 and stamped/mailed in Lynchburg, TN.
Dick Daniel never showed the commitment Mr. Lem Motlow had for the distillery so Mr. Lem Motlow bought out Dick Daniel's share of the distillery before 1909. To own a signiature of Dick Daniel's is off course almost as rare as a signiature of Mr. Jack himself....

(click on the check for a close up)

With the check came this letter to Mrs. Dora Stephens explaning how much here "piece" of the Jack Daniel's inheritance was incl. the tax of $ 49.29.

On the backside of the letter someone has made a few notes with pencil. This could have been done by Mrs. Dora Stephens for administation reasons because she is talking about "uncle Jack" ... (?)

Lem Motlow Saloon token c1900

This token was found at an early house site in Lynchburg, TN a few years ago.The tokens were given to friends and neighbors for free drink at Lem's saloon.
The back says good for five cents in trade.I believe this was the price of a shot of whiskey or a glass of beer in those days.

I had to put the No copy in the token because otherwise it could be duplicated! This is a very rare Jack Daniel's item.

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Lem Motlow's House in Lynchburg, TN

This house is located immediately adjacent to the Jack Daniel Distillery. It was originally constructed about 1870 and the original owner was a Mr. Berry. The next owner was Dan Waggoner. It later became the residence of Lem Motlow and he was living there when he died. His widow, Ophelia Evans Motlow, resided there for several years after his death. After the death of Lem Motlow's widow, Jack Daniel Distillery acquired the house and it is currently used for offices.

[pic.copyright Mike and Beth, TN]

Mr. Lem Motlow lived from 1869 till 1947. He is burried in Lynchburg, on the same Cemetery as Mr. Jack Daniel's and Mrs. Bobo.

Got some Lem Motlow bottles or items for sale ? Drop me a line at