US: Brown-Forman attacks plan to loosen "Tennessee Whiskey" rules
Jack Daniel's found 10% global sales growth in H1
The company claims that attempts to change legislation that currently requires designated “Tennessee Whiskey” to be aged only in new oak barrels will “dramatically diminish” quality in the industry. Companies including Diageo, which owns the Tennessee-based George Dickel whiskey, are pushing for the change as they claim it will benefit smaller distillers in the state.
But, Jack Daniel’s master distiller, Jeff Arnett, said on Friday (14 March): “This is not about the interests of micro distillers in our state. We support micro distillers. This is about Diageo, a large foreign company with more interest in Scotch and Bourbon, trying to weaken what Tennessee whiskey is and we simply shouldn’t allow it.”
Last year, Tennessee's General Assembly created a designation of “Tennessee Whiskey” as being made from fermented mash of at least 51% corn, aged in new oak barrels, charcoal mellowed and stored in the state. According to Jack Daniel's, reused barrels would not impart the same levels of colour and flavour and distillers would be forced to add artificial colourings and flavourings.
However, Diageo, and some smaller distilleries, claim that the rules are too close to the Jack Daniel's recipe and do not allow for variation.
"If I wanted my whiskey to taste like Jack Daniel's, I'd make it like Jack Daniel's," Phil Prichard, owner and master distiller of Prichard's Distillery, told the Tennessean newspaper.
North American whiskies are finding increased global demand. In Brown-Forman's first-half results, released in December, Jack Daniel's grew underlying net sales by 10%.
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