Some of Tennessee's most famous ducks are retiring to one of the state's most legendary sites.
Five ducks who are retiring from Memphis' Peabody hotel will live out the rest of their days at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg. This is the first time the ducks will not retire at the private Memphis farm where they were born.
The ducks took their final march in Lynchburg on Wednsday, down red and black carpets and into a pond below the distillery's cave spring. Wild ducks already live on the property, so they are expected to fit right in.
So why are they retiring to Jack Daniel's?
Turns out, there's a very old connection between the whiskey and the hotel.
According to legend, ducks arrived at The Peabody in 1933 after the general manager and a friend returned from a hunting trip. The two had enjoyed a bit of Lynchburg's hometown product and decided to place their live duck decoys (which were legal at the time) in the hotel's lobby fountain as a prank. Hotel guests loved it and the rest is history.
"Jack Daniel's and the Peabody Ducks have been connected from the very beginning so it's only natural that we would welcome a few of our webbed-footed friends to the Distillery," Master Distiller Jeff Arnett said. "These will be some of the best cared for ducks in the world, feasting on the same quality grain and cave spring water we use to make our whiskey. I guess you could say these ducks are getting the ultimate holiday present."
"We've always held Jack Daniel's in the highest regard at The Peabody. Not only because it's a point of state pride that it is a Tennessee whiskey, but because we know it's entirely possible that without Jack Daniel's and the warm companionship of friends on that cold night in 1933 there might not be ducks at The Peabody today," said Peabody Duckmaster Anthony Petrina.
The Peabody's well-known duck ambassadors always include one drake and four hen who take their famous marches around the hotel for only three months before they are retired.