On May 5, the Tennessee General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring May 21, 2021 as International Tennessee Whiskey Day. Historically, the date signifies the state’s repeal of the ban on manufacturing alcoholic beverages in Tennessee on May 21, 1937.
“This General Assembly wishes to celebrate and acknowledge the many contributions of our state’s renowned distilling industry, its people, and products that help fuel Tennessee’s economy, and our culture and status as the world’s only producer of Tennessee whiskey,” stated Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R – Crossville) in his resolution (HJR0477).
Tennessee has a long, rich history with whiskey-making. Early farm-based distilleries in Tennessee date back to the late 18th century, when settlers traveling west found that the area’s fertile land, water, and climate were ideal for making good whiskey. Tennessee is even home to the nation’s oldest registered distillery and several other distilleries that date back to the 1800s.
Today, Tennessee whiskey is a thriving industry that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world, generates millions of dollars in tax revenue, and even serves as a popular subject matter for many of the state’s famed musicians and songwriters.
“The Tennessee Distillers Guild is proud to be an integral part of carrying on the rich tradition of Tennessee whiskey, said Sara Beth Urban, executive director of the Tennessee Distillers Guild. “We are thrilled to see the recognition of the positive impact that Tennessee whiskey has had on this state, and we look forward to celebrating International Tennessee Whiskey Day each year.”
Officially, “Tennessee whiskey” must be made from fermented mash of at least fifty-one percent corn, aged in new oak barrels, charcoal mellowed, and produced in Tennessee.
“When consumers see ‘Tennessee whiskey’ on the label, they know it is a premium product that is made with quality ingredients, the utmost care, craftsmanship, and character and to a world-class standard,” said Sexton. “We honor and commend all of Tennessee’s distilleries, their workers, and the generations of families who have gone before them.”