Two internationally known liquor companies — giant Jack Daniel’s and rival George Dickel — are duking it out over the rights to dub their signature drink an authentic Tennessee whiskey blend.
Diageo PLC, a British-based conglomerate that holds the subsidiary George Dickel, earlier this year protested the state’s recently updated legal definition for Tennessee whiskey — a definition that favored the Brown-Forman Corp., the Louisville, Ken., based owner of Jack Daniel’s, The Associated Press reported.
The new definition called for whiskey makers to age their beverage in new, carried oak barrels in Tennessee and then filter it through maple charcoal before moving to the aging process, AP reported.
That left Dickel out in the cold, and attorneys in Nashville quickly filed a suit in federal court complaint that the British-based company was violating state statute. Dickel, meanwhile, brought its own suit in federal court, claiming the new rules violated free interstate commerce rules, AP said.
On Tuesday, Nashville-based attorneys abruptly dropped their suit again Dickel. But whiskey industry watchers say the calm isn’t likely to last long.
State lawmakers are largely expected to go back to the drawing table in the coming weeks and try to forge another definition of Tennessee whiskey, and some guess that the revised rules will once again favor Jack Daniel’s.
Jack Daniel’s, which wants to keep knockoffs out of the industry, outsells Dickel whiskey by an 88-to-1 ratio, AP reported. Dickel, meanwhile, says traditional whiskey production is fine, but it shouldn’t have to abide state laws that force it to make whiskey 100 percent in line with the old ways, AP said.
The two distilleries are located only 15 miles apart in Tennessee.