As of Sept. 24, Jack Daniel's had gathered nearly 13,000 Facebook- and text-generated signatories for a petition to have the birthday of the spirit's creator/namesake declared a national holiday -- with in-person signatures generated during the month-long campaign's 10-city bus tour yet to be tallied, reports a brand spokesperson.
Representatives of the Brown-Forman brand will deliver the signed petition to Congress when the tour, which began in Jack Daniel's home city of Lynchburg, Tenn. on Sept. 18, wraps up in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 29.
But don't start making plans for that paid day off just yet. Technically, the U.S. doesn't have national holidays, and the brand is not actually asking legislators to sponsor a bill making "Mr. Jack's" birthday a federal legal public holiday. (And since the exact date of said September birthday has been lost to history, the brand says that any day that Congress might choose within the month to recognize the occasion is okay by it.)
The exact nature of the petition's request is "open to interpretation," acknowledges the spokesperson. "We're having fun with it, to see what happens."
"We certainly realize that there are plenty of very serious things going on in the country, but we also think folks should have a little fun with this particular campaign," explained Jack Daniel's master distiller Jeff Arnett, in a press release.
The petition cites Jack Daniel's "embodiment of the American Dream," his fame in more than 135 countries, the endurance of his nearly 150-year-old business (the oldest registered distillery in the country), and his support of all parties (his only "platform" being "drinking responsibly") as among the reasons for officially commemorating his birthday.
The "Back Jack" campaign located its "headquarters" online at JDBDay.com, which offers a special Facebook app for fans wishing to sign, a video to share with friends, a map tracking state-by-state support thus far, campaign posters, and opportunities to win badges and improve one's "delegate" status by getting friends to sign.
Fans can also sign by texting JDBDay (to 68405), and in bars and other locations. In addition, the brand is promoting a JAGTAG that enables users to view a campaign video through mobile devices.
Mr. Jack's 160th birthday is, of course, also being marked with a commemorative bottle that hit stores this month (suggested price of $29.99 for a 750-ml size). Like other Jack Daniel's commemorative bottles, these bear unique reference numbers on their neck tags, enabling purchasers to register them on JackDaniels.com.
The brand's suggested official toast: "Here's to Mr. Jack, 160 years old and still out in the bars every night."
In addition to Lynchburg and D.C., the tour visited Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York City.