Above all, the two sides are both fighting to protect the growing industry in their own way. Supporters of the strict definition say they are protecting a brand that can one day compete with other premium spirits, such as Kentucky bourbon and Scotch whisky.
"The Tennessee whiskey category is a premium category. We don't want Tennessee whiskey to be on the same playing field as Kentucky whiskey. We want it to be on the same playing field as Kentucky bourbon," said Jeff Pennington, who with his wife Jenny owns Speakeasy Spirits, a craft distiller in Nashville, and who backs the 2013 law.
Opponents say only quality, not regulations, will set Tennessee spirits apart.
"Whether you're putting your product up in new cooperage or used cooperage, the final arbiter on quality is not going to be state regulation," Pritchard said. "The consuming public is going to be the final arbiter of whether you have a quality product."