Thursday, November 8, 2012

In Support of Chattanooga Whiskey

Now that the presidential election is over and the dust has settled, there is still one more vote on my radar - the November 15th 21st* Hamilton County Commissioners vote on whether or not to support distillation of alcohol here in Chattanooga & the rest of Hamilton County.

Even though Tennessee is famous for it's whiskey, since prohibition, the State of Tennessee has only allowed liquor production in 3 adjoining counties, all right around the home of Jack Daniels.  In 2009 the state loosened it's regulations on what was was required for additional counties to allow liquor production, but Hamilton County was not included in the final version of the bill. [1]

So, as much as I love Chattanooga Whiskey, it's not actually made in Chattanooga, and the company wants to change that.  To try avoid the lengthy process of petitioning for a local referendum followed by a popular vote, and to speed the process of actually making Chattanooga Whiskey in Chattanooga, Chattanooga Whiskey Company is asking that Hamilton County to be added to the 2009 bill.  This requires the support of the Hamilton County Commissioners, and the issue is to be discussed at their meeting next Thursday at 9:30 at the courthouse.

It's no surprise that I'm in support of Chattanooga Whiskey making their product in Hamilton County.  I love the Chattanooga, and as I've said before, I love the product.  I've blogged about how Big River's Southern Brewer's Festival, and Wine Over Water are two of my favorite annual Chattanooga events.  Hamilton County is an alcohol friendly environment, and I personally don't see logic in allowing breweries but not distilleries.  (A keg is going to do more damage than in a bottle of whiskey.)

Chattanooga Whiskey has launched a #VoteWhiskey campaign and is asking for your support for in the form of a letter or e-mail to your county commissioner, and I encourage you to do the same.  You can find your district here, and then e-mail your county commissioner here.

I'm not asking anyone to do something that I have not done myself, and here is the letter I sent to my commissioner on October 15th:

Mr. Henry,

As a resident of your district, I would like to please ask you to support a resolution stating Hamilton County is in favor inclusion into the Tennessee bill of 2009, allowing the distillation of alcohol in Hamilton County.  It is my understanding that this issue will be brought to the Commissioner's attention at your November 15th meeting.

I'm sure many people will have words for an argument in support of this change that are more eloquent than mine, but I feel like we are a county that as a whole supports local business innovators, as well as a county that is already supportive of the alcohol industry, as evidenced by the success of our numerous breweries and winery.  Distillation is a natural extension of the business already being done in Hamilton County.

Tennessee has a reputation for distilleries across the state, and I think there are unique opportunities for Hamilton County to significantly capitalize on this fact.  As the national demographics for tourism change, I think adding distilleries to Hamilton County makes the county more attractive to a group of tourism that would traditionally bypass Chattanooga in favor of other areas of the state.

Please let me know if you are in favor of bringing distilleries back to Hamilton County.  If you are not in favor, I would be interested in meeting with you face to face to discuss why.


The #VoteWhiskey campaign is also very active online, and you can show your support on facebook (here & here), or by using the #VoteWhiskey hashtag on twitter.

I hope you'll take a moment and let your county commissioner know that you support bringing the business of distilling alcohol back to Chattanooga.

*Edit 11/12/12 - Hamilton County Commissioners will hear argument from Chattanooga Whiskey on the 15th, they will vote on the 21st.



  1. Keep us updated on this did ya win? We have a Hamilton Co in Indiana too my sister lives in it :)

    1. I'll keep you posted Phats! The vote is Nov 15th (less than a week) I feel like there is a lot of support, but it sounds like some of the commissioners are against alcohol in general, so we'll see.


Sooooo, the spammers have finally discovered my blog. I'm not sure if that means I've 'made it', but it does mean that I have turned on comment moderation for my older posts. Don't worry though, I get the notifications quickly, and promise to read and publish anything that doesn't include random comments or suspicious links.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...