Where Does Tennessee Rank Among Bourbon-Loving States?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

“Tennessee Whiskey” is a 1981 song written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove that got new life in 2015 when Chris Stapleton rasped his way through it.

The lyrics say:

 â€śYou're as smooth as Tennessee whiskey,

You're as sweet as strawberry wine,

You're as warm as a glass of brandy . . .”

What the lyrics don’t say: Whether Tennessee whiskey is a bourbon.

All bourbon might be whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. This is an important fact in whiskey/bourbon-loving Tennessee because many bourbon fans in the Volunteer State really love what’s called Tennessee Whiskey.

To be classified as a bourbon, the spirit must be distilled at no more than 160 proof (80% alcohol) and must be at least 51% corn. Tennessee Whiskey therefore qualifies. In fact, a 2013 Tennessee state law decreed that Tennessee Whiskey must be a) distilled in Tennessee, and b) must be a bourbon first before it undergoes a 3-to-5-day charcoal filtering process called the Lincoln County Process. (Lincoln County was the original distillery home of Jack Daniel.)

The extra mellowing of what was bourbon is why Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at Jack Daniel, considers Tennessee Whiskey a Bourbon Plus.

It makes sense that Tennessee Whiskey (aka Bourbon Plus) would depend on corn, because corn is the most important grain crop in Tennessee. In 2022, the state grew around 100 million bushels – or about 10 billion ears of corn. Put that in your microwave and pop it.

So, it’s no wonder Tennesseans love their bourbon/Tennessee Whiskey.

BetTennessee.com – your source for Tennessee sports betting – did some research of states that loved bourbon the most.

Tennessee finished fourth for bourbon-loving states, behind Kentucky, of course, as well as Missouri and Louisiana.

To order our rankings, we used Google Trends to find out which states have been googling “bourbon” the most since 2021. And using Statista.com, we looked at weekly consumption of straight bourbon per capita in each state. Using both data sets, we assigned a point system between 1 and 50 — with 1 being the least searched/consumed, and 50 being the most.

Tennessee sports betting apps have odds of many things but you will find these results only at this site:

Bourbon Lovers Per State

Overall Rank State Rank Per Capita Consumption Rank Per Google Trends Total
9North Carolina344276
T14South Carolina204363
15New Mexico362561


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More on Tennessee Whiskey

In 2017, the Tennessee Distillers Guild started the Tennessee Whiskey Trail with 26 distilleries. Those that make “bourbon” include Knox Whiskey Works in Knoxville, Old Forge in Pigeon Forge, H Clark in Thompson’s Station and Old Glory in Clarksville. “Tennessee Whiskey” is produced by the world-famous Jack Daniel in Lynchburg, George Dickel in Cascade Hollow, Nashville Craft in Music City, Southern Pride in Fayetteville and Tenn South in Lynnville.

The following distilleries produce both a bourbon and a Tennessee Whiskey: Nelson’s Green Brier in Nashville, Old Dominick in Memphis, Prichard’s in Kelso, Short Mountain in Woodbury and Leiper’s Fork in, uh, Leiper’s Fork.

Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey is the only one that does not use the Lincoln County Process – ironic since it’s actually located in Lincoln County. Prichard’s method was grandfathered in when the state law was passed and is therefore the only Tennessee Whiskey to be made without the charcoal filtering.

Hmm . . . sounds like a bourbon.

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Howard Gensler is a contributing writer to BetTennessee.com. Gensler is a veteran journalist who has worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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