Kentucky's bourbon makers are concerned that federal legislation apparently aimed at clamping down on direct-to-consumer wine sales could open the door to competing state "bourbons."
Drafted by beer wholesalers, the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act (H.R. 5034) would defer the current federal alcohol regulation to state authority.
The Kentucky Distillers' Association, in a letter to the state's congressional delegation, said Monday the legislation would let states set their own standards, redefining bourbon.
Under current federal regulation, Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon.
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"Allowing individual states to concoct a whiskey and call it 'bourbon,' based on their own definition, would destroy the industry as we know it," KDA president Eric Gregory wrote.