Exemption in ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ law raises legal flags

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new legal opinion from the state’s attorney general is questioning the constitutionality of the Tennessee whiskey law for granting a special exemption to a single distiller.

The state Legislature in 2013 carved out an exemption for Kelso-based Pritchard’s Distillery from the law passed at the behest of Jack Daniel’s that for the first time established rules for which products could label themselves "Tennessee Whiskey."

Distiller Phil Pritchard argued that he shouldn’t have to follow a charcoal filtering requirement because it doesn’t follow the technique used by his grandfather.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery says in the opinion that the exemption could run afoul of the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution’s ban on suspending "any general law for the benefit of any particular individual."


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