Last Call

Moonshiners Rejoice! Tennessee ABC Narrowly Construes Tennessee Whiskey Law

By - June 14, 2013 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

2013 Tennessee law defined Tennessee Whiskey as hooch that is charcoal maple filtered and aged, like Jack Daniels.

Modern moonshine is not made like Jack Daniels. Moonshine does not meet the new definition of Tennessee Whiskey.  Moonshiners worried about labeling their spirits as Tennessee White Whiskey and other variations.

We previously blogged about the pitfalls of the new Tennessee Whiskey law.

Under new Tennessee liquor laws, legal moonshine distilleries are popping up all across the Volunteer State. Many want to label their hooch as Tennessee Unaged Whiskey, Tennessee White Whiskey or some other variation of the Tennessee whiskey name.

The new moonshiners are following time-honored methods of generations of illegal Tennessee distillers. The lore of illegal moonshining in Tennessee has become a marketing tool.

Dolly Parton’s tune “Daddy’s Moonshine Still” reminds us that moonshining was not always a star-studded career:

Folks say my daddy wasn’t much of a man
For disobeying the laws of the land
Folks say that my daddy wasn’t fit to kill
Oh and I know it was true what the people said
Cause we’d all’ve been better of dead
Than to live a life of shame and strife
Cause of daddy’s moonshine still 


ABC Director Keith Bell has informally advised that the descriptive terms “Tennessee White Whiskey,” “Tennessee Corn Whiskey” and “Tennessee Unaged Whiskey” are not prohibited by the new Tennessee Whiskey law.

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