Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Going Local: Should Jack Daniels Have A Monopoly On What's Called 'Tennessee Whiskey'?

A HEATED DEBATE IS COOKING HERE IN TENNESSEE RIGHT NOW: Newer distillers just getting in the business don't want to have to make their made-in-Tennessee whiskey the ole fashioned way Jack Daniels does.   Black Jack distillers haven't liked the smell of this competition for some time, preferring instead to keep it contained by specifying in state legislation passed last year how real whiskey that can be called real whiskey can and must be made in Tennessee.

To wit:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The owner of the Full Throttle moonshine distillery wants to add Tennessee whiskey to his product list. But Michael Ballard doesn't want to have to make his spirits in the style of Jack Daniel's, the world's most famous Tennessee whiskey.
Ballard, star of the cable reality show "Full Throttle Saloon," said a state law enacted last year prevents him from exploring his own style of Tennessee whiskey, and he is urging lawmakers to dial back some of the new regulations.
"We don't want to make our whiskey like Jack Daniel's makes their whiskey," said Ballard, who built his distillery in his home town of Trimble in rural northwestern Tennessee. "Why put us all in one box together?"
Ballard and Jesse James Dupree, who is building a distillery next to the Full Throttle facility, plan to attend legislative hearings Tuesday on scaling back the Tennessee whiskey rules. They include proposals to do away with provisions requiring charcoal filtering and storing whiskey only in new oak barrels.
We'll see what happens. Personally, if I were a whiskey drinker or were giving a gift of good whiskey, I'd go for the best, the highest quality and industry standard.

Nonetheless, I don't think government mandating to the inth degree how inferior whiskey has to be made is right either. There can and should be some standards, but not necessarily standards that exactly mirror how Brown Foreman distills and ages its brand.

 I ask you, would you rather sip a little Black Jack or take a slug of Full Throttle Moonshine Whiskey? I report, you decide.....

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