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Back to the Future: Tennessee Distillers Join Forces to Fortify Tennessee Distilled Spirits Industry
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Back to the Future: Tennessee Distillers Join Forces to Fortify Tennessee Distilled Spirits Industry

07.05.17
Many folks do not know that before prohibition, Tennessee Whiskey was a huge business, involving scores of distilleries across the Volunteer State.  The industry peaked in the 1880's, with Robertson County being the leader in production.  At its apex, Charles Nelson's Greenbrier Distillery  produced over 1,000 gallons of whiskey per day.  In comparison, Jack Daniels was producing less than 100 gallons per day.

According to a Nashville newspaper article in 1886, distilling was the largest industry in Tennessee.  A fabulous history of Tennessee Whiskey is at History of Tennessee Whiskey.

Only two distilleries survived prohibition: Jack Daniels and George Dickel.  Pritchard's became the third Tennessee distillery in the 1990's.

Recent changes to Tennessee liquor laws have led to an explosion in the number of distilleries in Tennessee.  Today, February 26, 2014, saw what could be a historic gathering of Tennessee distillers at the Tennessee Distillers Guild.

Pop rockers Huey Lewis and the News capture the moment in 1980's hit Back to the Future:

Tell me, doctor
Where are we goin' this time?
Is this the 50's, or 1999
All I wanted to do was play my guitar and sin


The Tennessee Distillers Guild was organized today with 11 Tennessee distilleries.  Although distilling may never reclaim its spot as the leading industry in Tennessee, we see the distillery business as a huge boom to tourism and attracting well-educated workers to relocate to the Volunteer State.

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