Thursday, June 18, 2009

To Think I Once Said Congress Wastes Too Much Time

From Business First of Louisville:
U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth and Brett Guthrie have formed the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, an officially recognized Congressional Member Organization. They will serve as co-chairman of the caucus. Yarmuth, Kentucky's Third District representative, and Guthrie, the state's Second District representative, formed the bipartisan caucus to organize a group of representatives "dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the bourbon industry in the United States and educating other members on the legislative and regulatory issues impacting the industry," the representatives said in a news release.

To date, 17 members of Congress have joined the caucus and more are expected to join in the coming weeks, according to the release. More than 95 percent of the world's bourbon is distilled and aged in Kentucky by distillers that employ more than 43,000 people. More than $3 billion of Kentucky's gross state product is generated by distilled spirits and more than 500,000 people visit the state's distilleries annually, the release said. "This caucus offers a solid base of bipartisan support for one of Kentucky's most important industries and largest employers," Yarmuth said in the release. "Congressman Guthrie and I both agreed that it was important to create a working group that would advocate for this critical part of the Commonwealth's economy."

You know, Congress is doing important work. Maybe Yarmuth and Guthrie could teach the other reps something about making a good cocktail, too.

7 comments:

First Stater said...

I thought by law bourbon could only be made in Kentucky, hence the designation Tennessee Sipping Whiskey for Jack, not bourbon. Or not.

Lew Bryson said...

Ah, that would be 'not.' By law, bourbon has to be made in the U.S. (in order to be labeled "bourbon" in the U.S.). There are bourbons from a variety of microdistillers, there was bourbon made in Pennsylvania and Indiana in recent memory (I have several bottles of fine PA bourbon). Jack Daniel's is called Tennessee Whiskey because in addition hewing to all the hoops bourbon has to jump through, Tennessee Whiskey has to go through the Lincoln County Process, the charcoal "mellowing" before going into the barrel. The Process originated in Tennessee, hence the monicker.

sam k said...

Congressional pro-alcohol advocacy? AWESOME!

Lew Bryson said...

I suspect there's a reason that DC is in the top five U.S. cities for consumption of bourbon...

Russ said...

What they said: "...dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the bourbon industry in the United States..."

What they meant: "...dedicated to protecting the business interests of Beam Global Spirits and Wine and anybody else willing to contribute to our campaign coffers..."

I hope I'm wrong, but this smells more like a caucus to protect big business interests than something that will look out for either the little guy or the consumer. Of course, as sam k pointed out, at least it's not more neo-prohibitionist crap!

Lew Bryson said...

Oh, I think you hit it right on the head, Russ. But most legislative initiatives that benefit big producers will help small ones too (I did say most), and any help the industry can get is good. Mostly.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Mostly this is about defeating the proposed FET increase and about putting pressure on (i.e., 'educating') Kentucky's state government about what "economic development" means.

Jack Daniel's is called "Tennessee Whiskey" primarily because its owner, Brown-Forman, wants to call it Tennessee Whiskey. Brown-Forman is a member of the Kentucky Distillers Association and also makes bourbon, even though Jack drives the bus. They go along with this because they know 'bourbon' is the term people respond to, more than the more accurate 'American whiskey.'

Maybe Congress will now declare bourbon to be America's Native Spirit, which they've never done, despite Beam Global press releases to the contrary.