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Whiskey makers distance themselves from petitioners

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Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press

CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- Let Hamilton Distill's campaign to force a referendum on allowing distilling in Hamilton County is separate from and soon could be at odds with efforts by the Chattanooga Whiskey Co., which backs a pro-distillation bill waiting for a vote in the General Assembly.

"We're saying, just go away," said Joe Ledbetter, co-founder of Chattanooga Whiskey. "We don't know if it's hostile, but we definitely think it's weird."

Ledbetter doesn't want lawmakers' feathers ruffled by a petition drive that some could see as an effort to go behind their backs. A referendum also could give hesitant lawmakers "a political out," Ledbetter said, allowing them to avoid voting for pro-liquor laws.

Asked whether Let Hamilton Distill would drop efforts to force a vote if the distillation bill becomes law, spokesman Chris Smith said Friday he has "not looked that far down the road."

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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