Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jack Daniel's Isn't Big Enough

Brown-Forman Corporation announced today that it will expand the Jack Daniel Distillery in response to global demand for its world-famous Tennessee Whiskey. The more than $100 million investment will include the addition of stills, barrel warehouses, and related infrastructure to support the expanded operations.

The Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, is already the largest whiskey distillery in the United States.

The expansion will result in approximately 90 additional full-time jobs over the next five years. Construction will begin this fall and is expected to be completed within two years. All of the new facilities will be in the Lynchburg area and use the same water source as the current distillery, but won't necessarily be visible to the 250,000 people who tour Jack Daniel's annually.

The illusion of a small, rural distillery untouched by time will be carefully preserved.

Jack Daniel’s volume has grown for 21 consecutive years. The Jack Daniel’s family of brands grew global net sales by nine percent in the last fiscal year.

About a year ago, Brown-Forman announced construction of a new cooperage (barrel-making facility) in Lawrence County, Alabama, near Decatur, about 80 miles from Lynchburg.

Earlier this year, with the support of Governor Bill Haslam, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation requiring that any spirit labeled 'Tennessee Whiskey' must be charcoal mellowed and produced in the state, which Jack Daniel's claims creates a new spirit category similar to Kentucky Bourbon.

It doesn't, since Kentucky Bourbon isn't a category (bourbon is) and Tennessee Whiskey is still not recognized by the U.S. Treasury's Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau, but it's a step in that direction and should effectively prevent distilleries who don't comply with the new law's specifications from using the Tennessee Whiskey designation.


EllenJ said...

@Chuck, "...should effectively prevent distilleries who don't comply with the new law's specifications from using the Tennessee Whiskey designation."

Well, at least if they intend to sell their product in Tennessee. The state law doesn't apply anywhere else. And frankly, I don't see Tennessee as being a major marketing area for non-JD or GD whiskey, other than tourist souvenir brands. Two exceptions would be Pritchard's, which is exempted from this law, and Collier & McKeel, which does already use the pre-barreling maple charcoal filtration process.

You can expect some comments regarding the abuse of power by the "Big Boys", but I personally can't see either George Dickel or Jack Daniel's as being particularly concerned with the "threat" of "unauthentic" Tennessee whiskey offered to Dollywood visitors.

Then again, JD *is* Brown-Forman, and they've been known before to turn litigenous molehills into great, smokey mountains at what would appear to be very slight provocation. Richwood Reserve anyone?

Chuck Cowdery said...

If an offending producer is in Tennessee, Tennessee law can reach it, whether it markets in Tennessee or not. If the offending producer is not in Tennessee, TTB will stop that because origin statements must be true. A product labeled Tennessee whiskey that is made in Ohio would run afoul of that existing rule. Of course, TTB has no remit outside the U.S., although treaties will protect the term in most cases. This thing does have legs.