US: Tennessee whiskey definition gets summer stay
The row between Brown-Forman and Diageo in Tennessee will continue into the Summer
The Tennessee General Assembly has voted to send proposed changes to last year's definition of Tennessee whiskey to a summer study committee.
The decision, which was handed down earlier today (25 March), means that last year's legislation, supported by Brown-Forman, will remain in place for the time being. The Assembly designated “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.
Up for discussion today, however, was an amendment that suggested the term be used to define whiskey that has been distilled, manufactured and bottled in the state of Tennessee. After the debate, the assembly agreed to send it to "summer study" committee, where the amendment will be discussed further.
The move was welcomed by Diageo, which has opposed the existing terms of definition. “The Tennessee legislature has done the right thing,” said a spokesperson for the company's North America division. “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.”
When contacted by just-drinks, Jim O'Malley, senior VP of global corporate affairs at Brown-Forman, said: "We respect the Tennessee committee for deciding not to pass Diageo's bill. We look forward to continuing to educate members, should they decide to form a study committee, on the importance of having a Tennessee whiskey definition or designation.
"It's time to stop debating what is good whiskey, and just get back to making good whiskey."
To view today's discussions in the General Assembly, click here (from 2:00).
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