Tennessee whiskey feud put on ice

26th March, 2014 by Becky Paskin

The adoption of a controversial new law allowing the reuse of barrels in the production of Tennessee whiskey has been postponed to give the industry a chance to voice their opinions.

Jack-Daniel's-barrel

Jack Daniel’s has welcomed the decision to halt changes to the definition of Tennessee whiskey

The Tennessee state legislative voted yesterday (25 March) to send a bill governing the production methods of Tennessee whiskey to a study committee this summer, rather than push through changes proposed by Diageo now.

A feud over the issue has been bubbling over the past few weeks, since the British drinks group suggested American oak barrels already used for Bourbon could be used in the Tennessee whiskey production process.

Brown-Forman, producer of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey last year backed the introduction of the Tennessee whiskey regulations, which like Bourbon, requires whiskey to be made from at least 51% corn, aged in new, charred oak barrels at an entry proof of 62.5%. But the law also requires Tennessee whiskey to be produced and matured within the State and undergo a charcoal-filtration process – a key characteristic of Jack Daniel’s.

Diageo, which produces its own Tennessee whiskey, George Dickel, claims the law as it stands “stifles competition” by not allowing smaller distillers to experiment with different used barrels.

“This is about Brown-Forman trying to stifle… the entrepreneurial spirit of micro distillers,” said Guy L Smith IV, Diageo executive vice-president. “We are not sure what they are afraid of, as we feel new innovative products from a new breed of distillers is healthy for the entire industry.”

Diageo has since welcomed the decision to send the matter to a study committee for “proper industry input”.

“The Tennessee legislature has done the right thing and now, rather than having one company dictate for everyone, we can do this the right way and come together in an open forum to discuss how to create the best standards for Tennessee whiskey. This is a good day for Tennessee, for distillers big and small, and for consumers of Tennessee whiskey.”

Brown-Forman also welcomed the news, albeit in a different light. “This essentially stops the debate on what is good whiskey and gets us back to producing good whiskey,” said Brown-Forman senior vice president Jim O’Malley.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Turin Vermouth and Caporale host Singapore masterclass

Noted bartender Simone Caporale has led a Turin Vermouth trade masterclass at more...

Berry Good launches Cofaidh Liqueur

Artisan producer Berry Good is to launch Scotland's 'first' cold brew coffee more...

Oregon spirits producer buys craft bottler

Oregon-based Eastside Distilling has acquired third party craft spirits more...

How will Brexit affect Irish spirits producers?

As the Article 50 trigger date draws closer, The Spirits Business considers how more...

Unmissable exhibitors at IAADFS 2017

For the final IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas in its current form, taking more...

Last Drop releases 1972 Lochside single grain

Rare whisky bottler The Last Drop Distillers has launched a 1972 single grain more...

Jim Beam intros cocktail experience

Jim Beam has upped its Bourbon tastings with the launch of a Tableside Cocktail more...

WSET welcomes Berry Bros as newest patron

Berry Bros & Rudd has signed up to support the Wine & Spirit Education Trust as more...

SWA hails £30bn Scottish trade ambition

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has welcomed a new strategy by the Scottish more...

The week in pictures

This week Javier Bardem took a tour of Speyside's Strathisla Distillery, more...

Irish Spirits Association hails distillery sales bill

Trade body the Irish Spirits Association (ISA) has hailed a new bill that will more...

Devils River Whiskey debuts with grain focus

President of the Texas Distilled Spirits Council Mike Cameron has launched more...

St Patrick's Day with Jameson in pictures

Irish whiskey brand Jameson invited journalists, writers, bloggers and more...

Jack Daniel's rolls out Southern Peach RTD

Jack Daniel’s has partnered with R&B singer K Michelle to introduce a new more...

Breakthru Beverage restructures leadership team

Breakthru Beverage Group has announced a new leadership structure for its more...

Johnnie Walker rolls out Blenders’ Batch in US

Blended Scotch brand Johnnie Walker is to introduce its “experimental” more...

Buffalo Trace releases four-grain Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Distillery has released a new iteration of its Colonel E.H. more...

Foxhole releases second grape-based gin

Following the release of its introductory English gin in 2016, Foxhole Spirits more...

Brown-Forman bolsters TR whiskey line for IAADFS

Brown-Forman Global Travel Retail has launched recent brand development more...

Diageo unveils 'industry first' e-learning tool

Diageo has launched a new e-learning tool on its responsible drinking website more...