Food & Beverage

Diageo lobbies change to Tennessee whiskey law


Diageo, maker of 's George Dickel, the nation's second best-selling Tennessee whiskey, is lobbying Tennessee legislators to ease laws that define "Tennessee whiskey" so other distillers can experiment with new techniques, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

What makes "Tennessee whiskey" so different from any other whiskey?

Yuriko Nakao | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The law as it stands requires that the whiskey is made from at least 51 percent corn, filtered through maple charcoal and aged in new, charred oak barrels, but that just so happens to be the recipe for Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's, the top-selling American whiskey brand in the U.S..

In a news release Friday, Brown-Forman claimed said a change in the law would "dramatically diminish the quality and integrity'' of Tennessee whiskey and make it inferior to bourbon.

Diageo, on the other hand, said, while its George Dickel brand is in compliance with the current law, and that it has no plans to change its recipe.

(Read more: Guinness says no to walking along with NYC's Irish)

"We're in favor of flexibility that lets all distillers, large and small, make Tennessee whiskey the way their family recipes tell them,'' Alix Dunn, a Diageo spokeswoman told WSJ.

Proposed changes include easing the requirements on new barrels and maple charcoal filtering, as proponents of the change have complained that new barrels are hard to find.

Legislators in Nashville intend to debate the possible change Tuesday in House and Senate committees ahead of possible floor votes.

Click here to read the full report from The Wall Street Journal.