Democrat Frank Eaton, who faces state Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, in the upcoming election, says he supports allowing businesses in Hamilton County to distill liquor.
"We can already legally sell and responsibly drink a product with Chattanooga's name on it right here in Hamilton County. 'Chattanooga Whiskey' should be made in Chattanooga," the 27th Legislative District candidate said in a news release.
A 2009 state law lets county commissions approve distillation of spirits in counties where referendums have been approved allowing liquor-by-the-drink sales and package-store sales.
Hamilton County currently is excluded from the law.
The owners of Chattanooga Whiskey have said they want to produce their whiskey in Chattanooga instead of having it made in Indiana, where it's now produced.
Citing his convictions and concerns about the impact of alcohol on driving, Floyd has said he opposes local whiskey manufacturing.
"I tell you alcohol kills more people every year than all illegal drugs put together," Floyd has said. "People who make it [alcohol], people who sell it and people who buy it, they have a share of responsibility [in such deaths.]"
"By my faith, I vote against every alcohol bill," he said.
Eaton said, "Distilling these products locally would bring jobs, business development, tax revenue, and tourism opportunities to our city. It just doesn't make sense to force local businesses to manufacture their products in another state due to an outdated Tennessee law."
"If elected," Eaton said, "I'll work toward including Hamilton County in the law allowing liquor production. I believe a state representative should listen to all constituents and do what's best for the district. In this case, we need jobs and economic expansion, and the question of consuming alcohol in our county is already settled."
The 27th District includes Lookout Mountain, Lookout Valley, St. Elmo, Signal Mountain, Fairmount, Walden, Mountain Creek, Red Bank, Hixson, Falling Water, Flat Top Mountain, Mowbray Mountain, Soddy-Daisy and Bakewell.