Late country Music legend George Jones has won an award, but not for his music. The singer's own brand White Lightning Apple Pie Moonshine took home a Platinum Medal for Unaged Flavoured Infused Whiskey at this year's annual SIP awards. The Spirit International Prestige Awards gauge consumer satisfaction with spirits and are among the top honours in the liquor industry.

Jones, who was once married to fellow country star Tammy Wynette, is best known for songs such as the heart-tugging ballad He Stopped Loving Her Today, which was voted the greatest country song ever by Radio 2 listeners; and A Good Year For The Roses, which was covered and became a UK hit for Elvis Costello.

The name of Jones' signature whiskey comes from his 1959 hit White Lightning, an up tempo song about illegal moonshine whiskey, which topped the American country charts for five weeks.

Lawn mower man

Jones fought a life-long addiction to alcohol which often resulted in him missing concerts and resulted in his nickname No Show Jones. Famously, Wynette once tried to stop him leaving the house to buy liquor by hiding the keys to his many cars. George's answer was to ride into town on a lawn mower.

The lawn mower incident haunted Jones for the rest of his life. When he and Wynette united for a one-off UK appearance at London's Hammersmith Odeon in the 1990s, Jones had barely walked out from the wings when someone in the audience brought the house down by calling out "Where's your lawn mower, George?"

Towards the end of his life, Jones eventually quit drinking with credit often being given to his fourth and final wife, Nancy. But his widow said "George always wanted to own his own brand of whiskey. This was one of the promises I made to him before he died, that I'd make that dream come true."

"Alcohol has owned me and controlled much of my life. Now is my time to own it," George said a year before his death in 2013.


George Jones White Lightning was released this April to coincide with the opening of a new George Jones Museum, restaurant and event space in Nashville, in May. The 7,500-square-foot museum includes sequinned suits from the early days of Jones' career, his first guitar, and his address book with its hand-written numbers for Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. Visitors may also meet George's widow who promises to be at the museum each day, sometimes in the company of George's dog Bandit.

Naturally, the museum on Nashville's Second Avenue North includes a glass case containing George's most famous mode of transport, a John Deere lawn mower like the one he once rode to a bar.

A biopic of Jones' storied life is currently under discussion with Bradley Cooper and Brad Pitt among the names mooted to play the title role.