New distilleries on Tennessee’s horizon

US state of Tennessee to get new distilleriesThe state of Kentucky is the centre of US whisky production, but entrepreneurs - boosted by new laws - are hoping to create a competitor state; Tennessee. While Tennessee is the home of the best selling whisky in the US and one of the most famous brands in the world – Jack Daniel’s – strict laws have prevented the production of distilled spirits except at three distilleries – Jack Daniel’s, of course, plus George Dickel and Prichards’ Rum.
So a situation exists that is extraordinary given Tennessee is located in the heart of the foremost capitalist nation in the world.

Using the UK as an example - Scotland is less than three-quarters the size of Tennessee and has one million fewer people. Whisky is one of its biggest exports and it has about 90 operating distilleries. Tennessee has just four, with whisky coming way behind textiles, cotton, beef and power in terms of economic importance.
If the success of Jack Daniel’s can be even partially replicated, that could be about to change as entrepreneurs progress plans to cash-in on new laws.
In 2009 the state legislature cleared the way for new distilleries to start up. The new law was a radical change, but it was not an open invitation as each new enterprise has to get approval at local county level. That process, however, is progressing smoothly in at least some cases.
Take, for example, the Short Mountain Distillery, founded by Billy Kaufman. Following the change of law, he started lobbying for support in his local community in Cannon County in the summer of 2010 to build a distillery on his farm. A referendum was held on 2 November 2010 and he was granted permission.
Short Mountain DistilleryShort Mountain Distillery has subsequently secured $1 million in investment and has hired former Maker’s Mark master distiller, David Pickerell to oversee the launch of the distillery. At the time of writing (26 January 2011), they are in the design phase, working with architects.
Short Mountain Distillery and others with similar ambitions have a long way to go before bottles of their spirits go on sale. But it is a start.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 21:35


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