For many revelers, alcohol is an integral part of the holidays—whether it's toasting a glass of bubbly to celebrate being together with family or drinking hard liquor to deal with being together with family. Booze brands have long understood this important position, and recently, a growing trend has been to celebrate the season with Christmas trees made out of boozy barrels. For instance, the past five years, Rochester, New York's Genesee Brewery has built a massive tree out of beer kegs. And last year, the Raasay distillery in Scotland built a tree out of 50 former sherry and bourbon casks. Since 2011, Jack Daniel's has gotten in on the action, too: What was originally a single 26-foot tall tree made from 140 American white oak whiskey barrels in Lynchburg, Tennessee, is now five different trees in cities around the country.
This year, if you want to celebrate the holidays by gazing upon a Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel Christmas tree, no need to drag the family to Lynchburg: Replicas will also go up in Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Nashville, Tennessee. (Heck, seeing as Lynchburg and Nashville are less than two hours apart, you could theoretically take the fam to see two trees in one day!)
If you're wondering where Jack Daniel's gets the 700 barrels necessary to build five of these trees, it's extremely easy: "Jack Daniel's only uses new charred oak barrels to make its whiskey and they are never filled a second time," the brand explains. "The barrels that will be used to build all the trees were earlier entrusted to mature the famed Tennessee Whiskey and will now be bringing another special holiday 'spirit' to many of their friends around the country."
Meanwhile, the top barrels of all five trees have their own additional significance. As part of the "Operation Ride Home" program—a partnership between the distillery and the Armed Services YMCA—these top barrels are getting auctioned off with the proceeds going to help military members and their families travel home for the holidays. "At Jack Daniel's, we like to say that good cheer is our number one export to the world," Master Distiller Jeff Arnett stated. "The barrel tree in Lynchburg has a special way of bringing people together, just like Operation Ride Home, and we hope friends either living in or visiting these locations will stop by and join us as we celebrate this most special holiday season. After all, it's not what's under the tree that's important, but who's around it."
Jack Daniel's says you can find more info about the barrel auctions on its website.