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Once-dry counties around Chattanooga wet their whistles

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Photo by Angela Lewis / Chattanooga Times Free Press Photo by Angela Lewis / Chattanooga Times Free Press

(Times Free Press) -- Jack Daniel's quietly rolled out a $10 whiskey-tasting tour at its distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., in February, and the George Dickel Distillery in nearby Tullahoma has a new tasting room that's due to open sometime after Jan. 1.

Connie Prichard believes the two big boys of Tennessee distilling are following the lead she and her husband, Phil Prichard, set five years ago when they started offering free quarter-ounce sips of whiskey and rum at their craft operation, Prichard's Distillery in Kelso, Tenn.

"We were the first distillery in the state to do tastings," she said. "You always could do them, it's just George and Jack chose not to."

Thanks to legislation signed in 2009 by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen that opened up whiskey-making to more than 40 counties, Tennessee has about a dozen small craft distilleries offering spirits tastings, the most popular of which is Ole Smoky Distillery in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Visitors there enjoy "free moonshine tasting" from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. except on Sundays and holidays.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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