Whiskey Wars opening in Nashville

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Whiskey distillers in Tennessee want to change a law that would revise the formula used to make Tennessee Whiskey.

Ole Smoky plans to release a charred moonshine flavor this weekend. (Source: Kyle Grainger)

The debate comes down to state law and how whiskey is made. Distillers say the fight over the phrase "Tennessee Whiskey" comes down to the barrel: New verses old.

Current state law says to call whiskey a "Tennessee Whiskey," you must use a new barrel.

"There's a big shortage in new oak barrels. I think many distillers would love to use a used barrel to make Tennessee whiskey," says Justin King, Master Distiller at Ole Smoky in Gatlinburg.

At Ole Smoky, King had to get used barrels for the company's newest corn moonshine whiskey flavor. That's why it's called moonshine and not whiskey. King says he thinks changing the rules would be a good thing.

"You know we're proud to be from Tennessee and love to distill whiskey here, and would love to call what we do 'Tennessee Whiskey.' We're making a charred moonshine, we've got all the aging process going on here," says King.

Business owners say the rules limit the abilities to grow their businesses. Distillers say customers won't notice too much of a difference in taste with a twice used barrel.

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