Historic Whiskey Could Go Down Drain
By JOE EDWARDS, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2007
(11-15) 12:52 PST Nashville, Tenn. (AP) --
Here's a sobering thought: Hundreds of bottles of Jack Daniel's whiskey, some of it almost 100 years old, may be unceremoniously poured down a drain because authorities suspect it was being sold by someone without a license.
Officials seized 2,400 bottles late last month during warehouse raids in Nashville and Lynchburg, the southern Tennessee town where the whiskey is distilled.
"Punish the person, not the whiskey," said an outraged Kyle MacDonald, 28, a Jack Daniel's drinker from British Columbia who promotes the whiskey on his blog. "Jack never did anything wrong, and the whiskey itself is innocent."
Investigators are also looking into whether some of the bottles had been stolen from the distillery. No one has been arrested.
Authorities are still determining how much of the liquor will be disposed of, and how much can be sold at auction.
Tennessee law requires officials to destroy whiskey that cannot be sold legally in the state, such as bottles designed for sale overseas and those with broken seals.
"We'd pour it out," said Danielle Elks, executive director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The estimated value of the liquor is $1 million, possibly driven up by the value of the antique bottles, which range from 3-liter bottles to half-pints.
One seized bottle dates to 1914, with its seal unbroken. Elks said it is worth $10,000 on the collectors market. Investigators are looking into whether the liquor was being sold for the value of the bottles rather than the whiskey.