Tennessee Senate rejects House version of whiskey distillery bill

Tennessee Senate rejects House version of whiskey distillery bill

April 17th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

POLL: Should whiskey be manufactured in Hamilton County?

NASHVILLE - The state Senate today refused to go along with the House version of a liquor distillery bill with members raising objections to several provisions.

A motion by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, to concur with the House's actions failed on a 13-10 vote, sending the bill back to the House.

The House can either stand by its actions or accept the Senate bill.

Senate debate turned on the issue of allowing Sunday sales by distilleries of their product and offering free samples to customers who take tours of the distillery.

"In my opinion, the House has taken what was a bad bill and made it worse," said Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville.

Ketron unsuccessfully argued that Sunday sales were permitted in the Senate-passed bill.

The bill expands a 2009 distillery law, which among other things took Hamilton County out of the measure. Hamilton County is now in, a goal of Chattanooga Whiskey Co., which despite its name can't manufacture its product in Chattanooga and buys it from an Indiana distillery.

The issue is coming down to the wire with state lawmakers hoping to conclude their annual session as early as Thursday.