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Jack Daniel's distillery facing possible $3.5 million property tax increase

You can't blame the folks in charge of producing Jack Daniel's for having a few stiff shots of their signature sour mash.

Jack_daniels_bottle_glassMoore County, Tenn., council members want the distillery, located in the tiny town (population 361, according to the whiskey's label) of Lynchburg, to pay substantially more in property taxes.

What's substantial?

From a current $1.5 million annual bill to as much as $5 million a year.

As I said, another round, please.

In order to collect the new revenue, the county council voted to ask the Tennessee legislature to authorize a local referendum on whether the distillery should pay more in property taxes.

The actual tax due would be based on how many barrels of sour mash Jack Daniel's fills. The proposal would charge the distillery up to $10 for every barrel. Since a barrel holds about 294 liters, the tax would amount to 3.4 cents per bottle, according to research by the tax supporters.

Who thinks those extra pennies (and more) show up on the liquor store shelf price if the new tax is instituted? Me, too.

If state lawmakers agree with the council members' request, then a year from now Moore County voters will get to decide whether their biggest, and most famous, business is liable for a larger property tax tab.

The distillery naturally says it's already paying its Tennessee neighbors plenty in taxes. Plus, tax opponents say, Jack Daniel's has brought attention, and tourists (a quarter of a million last year), to the smallest county in the Volunteer State.

Folks who are for the per barrel tax, however, say the relationship works both ways.

"Lynchburg and the people of Moore County have been involved in the success of the Jack Daniel's brand; the value of the brand worldwide is due in no small measure because they have marketed our town and people successfully," Charles Rogers, who has led the campaign for the new tax, told the Associated Press.

While Lynchburg locals might support the tax, there's much less enthusiasm statewide.

And you can bet that that the distillery's owner, Brown-Forman Corp., already is working on a public relations and political campaign to stop the increased property tax.

Open another bottle, boys. This is gonna take a while.

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What happens when they close shop and move elsewhere? What will the town do then lol

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