Gov. Bill Haslam signs whiskey bill

Gov. Bill Haslam signs whiskey bill

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

Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill altering the state's liquor distillery laws, providing a path for Chattanooga Whiskey Co. to begin manufacturing its product in the city it calls home.

Online legislative records show Haslam signed the bill on Thursday.

Hamilton County was excluded from the original 2009 law that made it easier to begin producing alcohol in counties without first having to hold a specific referendum for approval.

Under the new law, distilleries will be legal in a city where voters have approved both liquor by the drink and retail package store sales. Chattanooga voters did that years ago. They are also legal in unincorporated areas of counties in which a city has approved the so-called "double referendum."

But there is a 45-day window for city legislative bodies to opt out of the provisions. The same goes for county commissions with regard to unincorporated areas.

Chattanooga Whiskey owners pressed for the changes. The business' product is now made in Indiana. Distilleries operating in other parts of the state have made it a booming business with tours and on-site sales of their product.