Tennessee distillers love to make bourbon but let’s face it, bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States. Tennessee Whiskey however can only be made in Tennessee and now Tennessee Whiskey is getting its own day with the passing of resolution HJR0477.
In the early 1800s, Tennessee was a leading producer of distilled spirits. The state was home to hundreds of registered distilleries until Prohibition. In Tennessee, the Dry’s that were a part of the Temperance movement was successful in banning the production of whiskey in 1910, many years ahead of the Federal ban. After the ban, Tennessee distillers either completely closed up shop, moved to another state, or quietly moved operations to the hills and hollers by the light of the moon. Nine years later on January 9, 1919, Tennessee became the 23rd state to ratify the 18th Amendment that banned the production of spirits across the entire country.
On the flip side, Tennessee was the 19th state to ratify the 21st Amendment calling for the repeal of Prohibition on August 11, 1933. (This was well ahead of its northern border state of Kentucky who was the 33rd state to ratify the repeal on November 27, 1933.) On December 5, 1933, Utah was the 36th state to approve the 21st Amendment providing the required three-fourths vote to officially repeal Prohibition. Tennessee however would remain dry until the state’s repeal of the ban on manufacturing alcoholic beverages in Tennessee on May 21, 1937.
Tennessee has a long, rich history with whiskey-making. Early farm-based distilleries found that Tennessee’s fertile land, water, and climate were ideal for making good whiskey.
Today, Tennessee whiskey is a thriving industry that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world, generates millions of dollars in tax revenue, and even serves as a popular subject matter for many of the state’s famed musicians and songwriters.
To recognize Tennessee whiskey’s proper place in American distilled spirits history the Tennessee General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring May 21 as International Tennessee Whiskey Day.
“This General Assembly wishes to celebrate and acknowledge the many contributions of our state’s renowned distilling industry, its people, and products that help fuel Tennessee’s economy, and our culture and status as the world’s only producer of Tennessee whiskey.”Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton in his resolution HJR0477.
“Tennessee Whiskey has such a long and rich history, but it is frequently overshadowed by our northern neighbor, Kentucky Bourbon. So for Tennessee Whiskey to finally be recognized in such a big way and to finally have its “own” day is just thrilling and very rewarding.”said Tennessee Distillers Guild President and Old Dominick Distillery Master Distiller Alex Castle.
TN HJR0477 A RESOLUTION commemorating May 21, 2021, as “International Tennessee Whiskey Day.” WHEREAS, this General Assembly wishes to celebrate and acknowledge the many contributions of our State’s renowned distilling industry, its people and products that help fuel Tennessee’s economy, and our culture and status as the world’s only producer of Tennessee Whiskey; and WHEREAS, early farm-based distilleries in Tennessee date back to the late 18th century, when settlers traveling west found that our land, grain, water, and climate were perfect for making good whiskey; and WHEREAS, even prior to the Civil War, Tennessee was a leading producer of whiskey and rightfully secured that position after the State’s repeal of the ban on manufacturing alcoholic beverages in Tennessee on May 21, 1937; and WHEREAS, our State is home to the nation’s Oldest Registered Distillery and several other distilleries that date back to the 1800s; and WHEREAS, the Tennessee Distillers Guild includes thirty-one operating distilleries, representing all three grand divisions of our great State, with operations in West, Middle, and East Tennessee; and WHEREAS, each year, our distilleries generate tens of millions of dollars in property, income, and sales tax revenue that support the well-being and growth of local municipalities and our State; and WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world are welcomed with open arms at our distilleries, and they contribute to local, regional, and state economies while they are here; and WHEREAS, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail was established in 2017 to help welcome these visitors and provide information, tips, and other resources to provide a once-in-a-lifetime whiskey immersion experience for them; and WHEREAS, in 2013, the General Assembly passed legislation that was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam that set the definition of “Tennessee Whiskey” as being made from fermented mash of at least fifty-one percent corn, aged in new oak barrels, charcoal mellowed, and produced in the State; and WHEREAS, when consumers see “Tennessee Whiskey” on the label, they know it is a premium product that is made with quality ingredients, the utmost care, craftsmanship, and character and to a world-class standard; and WHEREAS, the Bourbon and American Whiskey category has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and continues to increase in popularity; and WHEREAS, Tennessee Whiskey has long supported another great product of Tennessee—music, music recording, and songwriting—by inspiring songwriters and artists, serving as a character and subject matter in their music, and accompanying performances in honky-tonks, restaurants, bars, theaters, and arenas throughout Tennessee; and WHEREAS, our State’s distilleries and their employees are there to meet the global demand for Tennessee Whiskey and continue to serve as global ambassadors for Tennessee in more than 170 countries around the world; and WHEREAS, it is fitting that we pause in our deliberations to honor and commend all of Tennessee’s distilleries, their workers, and the generations of families who have gone before them; now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING that we join with this State’s distilleries and their employees, both past and present, in commemorating May 21, 2021, as “International Tennessee Whiskey Day” in respectful recognition and thanks for their many contributions to our State. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we warmly welcome members of the Tennessee Distillers Guild, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, and others to the seat of the State’s government and extend to them our best wishes for a pleasant visit on Capitol Hill. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an appropriate copy of this resolution be prepared for presentation with this final clause omitted from such copy and upon proper request made to the appropriate clerk, the language appearing immediately following the State seal appear without House or Senate designation. Signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee 05/12/2021