April 18, 2013 – Tennessee lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow the owners of Chattanooga Whiskey to build a distillery and produce their own spirit instead of importing it from Indiana. State senators approved the bill today after initially rejecting a House amendment Wednesday evening that restored distance limits between any distillery and schools or schools. The bill now goes to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for his signature.

The bill adds Hamilton County, where Chattanooga is located, to the counties where distilling is legal in Tennessee, as long as local ordinances allow retail package liquor (off-premise) and “liquor by the drink” (on-premise) sales. Hamilton County and Chattanooga elected officials have already given the project their blessing. However, the county had been left out of the 2009 law that allowed for new distilleries in Tennessee other than the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg and the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma.

Chattanooga Whiskey owners Joe Ledbetter and Tim Piersant have pledged to invest $2 million to restore a historic factory site in the downtown area for use as a distillery, warehouse space, and events center as soon as Gov. Haslam signs the bill into law. Their whiskey is currently distilled at the MGP-I Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Links: Chattanooga Whiskey