George Dickel Scores Surprise Victory in High-Stakes Tennessee Whiskey War

Today's victor.
Today's victor.Photo: George Dickel

Trick question: What do you call Tennessee whiskey if it’s aged in Kentucky? Tennessee law says “something else,” but the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission dropped its complaint yesterday against two-timing bi-stater George Dickel, so the answer’s now more of an enigma. The only thing it clarifies is that Dickel owner Diageo (a.k.a. the world’s largest producer of spirits) and Jack Daniel’s (world’s largest producer of Tennessee whiskey) are headed for an epic showdown over who’ll define that coveted designation. It’s gripping already; would-be rule-relaxer Diageo and tiny craft distillers cast as bedfellows, while Jack, ever the patriot, literally argues Tennessee’s heritage is being attacked by a “foreign” foe trying to “weaken” it. High stakes, clearly, and the opening shots have just been fired. [AP, Related]