The History of Tennessee Whiskey

Whiskey production has a rich history in Tennessee that survived both national prohibition and a longer statewide prohibition

Bill’s Package Store thinks you should know a little more about what makes a great Tennessee whiskey.

The Legal Stuffbills-package-store-clarksville-tn-history-of-tennessee-whiskey

  • To be recognized as a Tennessee whiskey, it must:
    • Be produced in Tennessee
    • Use a mash of at least 50% corn
    • Be aged in new charred oak barrels
    • Meet limits on alcohol content, distilling concentration, aging, and bottling
    • Use the Lincoln County Process*

*Lincoln County Process:
Whiskey must be steeped in or filtered through maple charcoal chips before going into casks for aging.


Who started all this?

  • As Scottish, Scots-Irish, and Irish immigrants moved to the frontier in the late 18th century, they brought their distilling practices with them, though they primarily used rye rather than corn.
  • Whiskey production increased nationally, and many farmers found that turning their corn into whiskey yielded better profits.
  • Prohibition movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries nearly destroyed the whiskey industry in Tennessee.

Here’s what you need to know about corn.



  • Whiskey produced in Tennessee that does not follow this process is often labeled “corn whiskey.”
  • Moonshine, which is also often made in Tennessee, is a form of corn whiskey that is not aged.



“All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon”

  • Bourbon is strictly America and has strict rules:
    • Must be made in the USA
    • Must be at least 51% corn
    • Must be aged in NEW oak-charred barrels
    • Must be distilled to no more than 160 proof and entered into the barrel at 125 proof or less
    • Must be bottled at no less than 80 proof
    • Must not contain any added flavoring, coloring, or other additives
  • This is the law according to the Bottled in bond Act of 1897

If you have any questions about whiskey or bourbon or any of our products, just ask one of our friendly staff members.

At Bill’s Package Store, we offer superior quality, top-shelf brands of your favorite liquors and wine at the lowest prices in Clarksville, TN. Call (931) 647-5566 or visit us at 1651 Fort Campbell Blvd Clarksville, TN.