- A debate over what can be called "Tennessee Whiskey" was put on hold on Tuesday, as lawmakers in Nashville moved the contested law to "summer study" instead of taking it to a vote.
- Consequently, the law cannot change before next year, even if the vote is for it.
- U.K.-based liquor company Diageo is lobbying the state to roll back last year's law championed by Kentucky's Brown-Forman, the makers of Jack Daniels. The law requires anything labeled "Tennessee Whiskey" to be made in the state from at least 51% corn, filtered through maple charcoal and aged in new, charred-oak barrels.
The legal definition of "Tennessee Whiskey" is a hotly contested issue, as we saw here. Diageo, the world's largest liquor company by revenue, is not tops in sales for Tennessee Whiskey. Its George Dickel brand trails far behind Jack Daniels, whose process matches the state's law for what can be called "Tennessee Whiskey." Diageo's argument is that all distillers shouldn't have to conform to the Jack Daniel's mold and should be allowed deviation, including the option not to use new barrels.
With the matter delayed, Jack Daniels wins this round, but the war isn't over yet. Rep. Ryan Haynes indicated that change may come yet, saying, "It's wrong for the government to codify recipes. I don't think we should be in that business." We'll all have to wait until the summer to see if the other lawmakers adopt his point of view.