Distillers object to bourbon bill

• From the Louisville, KY, Courier-Journal:

Kentucky's bourbon-makers are opposing a U.S. House bill they say would effectively gut federal regulations that govern what can be called bourbon by giving states the upper hand in regulating alcoholic beverages.

If the bill became law, the Kentucky bourbon distillers and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) argue that states could set their own bourbon formulas and requirements for labeling and bottling, overriding the requirements set by U.S. Treasury Department.

"The resulting chaos would undermine" an economic and tourism engine for the state, Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, said Monday.

Kentucky produces 95% of the world's bourbon, with 10,000 jobs, $125 million in tax revenue and more than $750 million in exports, he said.

The change would bring "significant damage to our legendary distillers," he said.

The House bill, filed by Massachusetts Democrat Bill Delahunt, is supported by national beer wholesalers. It would amend two federal laws by declaring that states have the primary authority to regulate alcoholic beverages. States also couldn't discriminate against out-of-state producers to the benefit of in-state producers without justification.

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