Published on August 24th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Eric “ET” Tecosky On Working With Jack Daniel’s & Its New 100-Proof Bottled-In-Bond Whiskey
Officially registered by the United States government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the Jack Daniel Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the States. The Jack Daniel’s distillery — maker of the world-famous Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails, and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire — also holds its own in being on the National Register Of Historic Places. Unsurprisingly, Jack Daniel’s is the top-selling American whiskey around the world, yet as its home base of Moore County is considered a “dry county,” the product is not available for purchase in nearby stores or restaurants.
The Jack Daniel’s brand has long been associated with entertainment — references to Jack Daniel’s have been made on-stage and/or on recordings by Van Halen, Ke$ha, Eric Church, ZZ Top, and Dean Martin — and the brand recently entered into the podcast space. Around The Barrel With Jack Daniel’s is a new podcast hosted by Lucas Hendrickson. Season 1 guests on Around The Barrel included distiller Jeff Arnett, tour guide Ben Spears, brand ambassador Eric “ET” Tecosky, and R&B singer K. Michelle. More on that podcast can be found online at www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/podcast.
Also new to the Jack Daniel’s brand is the recently-unveiled 100-Proof Bottled-In-Bond Tennessee Whiskey. The rich, bold, 100-Proof Tennessee Whiskey has an aroma of caramel with mild hints of banana and balanced caramel, vanilla and toasted oak flavors with a full-bodied mouth feel leaving a creamy, warm finish. Jack Daniel’s Bottled-In-Bond hit shelves earlier this summer in select duty-free outlets in a 1-liter bottle size. To learn more about this already-acclaimed, Tennessee-made offering, I had the pleasure of speaking with the aforementioned brand ambassador Eric “ET” Tecosky.
How did you find your way into the world of spirits and wind up working with Jack Daniel’s?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: After college I moved to L.A. for a work opportunity. The move was successful, the work not as much. Since my landlord still required a rent check, I got a job in a bar to make a few bucks until I figured out my next move. Two decades later I’m happily and thankfully still at it. A few years ago another turn led me to this job. I was working at Jones Hollywood in L.A. and the local Jack team knew I was a huge fan. An opportunity came up to host a whiskey tasting dinner and they asked me if I would be interested. That gig led to the next gig and the next and before I knew it, I had, in my opinion, the greatest job ever.
Were you always into whiskey?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: I think I was always into the idea of whiskey. My father and I used to spend a lot of time watching old western movies and whiskey was basically a character in every storyline. Long, hard ride through the mountains? Shot of whiskey. Got a bullet in the arm? Take a swig from the bottle and bite down on this leather strap.
Do you ever spell “whiskey” without the “e?”
Eric “ET” Tecosky: Only if I was writing a note expressing my sadness and despair for never having seen Led Zeppelin at the Whisky A Go Go.
What is a day in the life as a brand ambassador like? How much travel is involved with your work?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: Most every day is different but the goal is the same. My days are spent taking all the hard work done by the men and women at our distillery and cooperage and bringing that to life around the country. Those processes, stories and traditions can be told in many ways — through cocktails, at a Sinatra-style supper club, in a formal training or at a rock & roll event turned up to 11. The possibilities are really endless, and so is the travel! The good news is my wife gets to join me on some trips. Curious, though, she never seems to be available to come with me to the Northeast in January, but always seems to be available for Hawaii or Florida around the same time. I try not to think too much about it.
What is your favorite part about working with Jack Daniel’s?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: I have always felt connected to the brand. Actually, I feel like Jack Daniel’s is less of a brand and more of a lifestyle. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is my job. Basically, I travel the country seeing old friends and making new ones with Jack Daniel’s as the conversation-starter.
Of all the Jack Daniels varieties available, do you have a favorite?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: Old No. 7. It always puts a smile on my face when I spot that bottle on a back bar. With the amount I travel there is a sense of comfort when I see Jack Daniel’s on the shelf. I have spoken to some other people who also spend a ton of time on the road and they feel the same way. I doesn’t matter if it’s Denver or Danville, seeing that black & white square feels a bit like home.
When not busy with Jack Daniels, how do you like to spend your free time?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: My wife and I have 4 dogs. Nothing makes us happier than a pair of sweats, our couch, a puppy pile and a day of good/bad movies. No surprise, though, that sometimes work sneaks into those days in the form of a glass of ice and a little Jack Daniel’s.
What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: Greta Van Fleet at the Troubadour. They are proof that rock & roll is alive and well.
Finally, ET, any last words for the kids?
Eric “ET” Tecosky: Just like Jack Daniel himself, find something you love, get really good at it and you can make all your dreams come true.