The Fight Over Tennessee Whiskey
J Thoendell stashed this in Food
Last year, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill that for the first time codified the process of making Tennessee Whiskey. Among other mandates, it required that anything labeled as such be filtered through maple charcoal and aged in new charred oak barrels. Not coincidentally, that’s the way Jack Daniel’s — by far the biggest producer of Tennessee Whiskey — has been making its spirit since the 1870s.
Unsurprisingly, Brown-Forman, the Louisville-based company that produces Jack Daniel’s, was a fan of the law. Phil Lynch, a Brown-Forman spokesman, says the company pushed the legislature to define the whiskey-making process after seeing a number of new distilleries open across the state in the last few years.
U.K.-based Diageo, which owns George Dickel— the distant second best-selling Tennessee Whiskey — didn’t share Brown-Forman’s enthusiasm and it lobbied the legislature to repeal the state requirements.