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Dawson tries to lure whiskey maker
Commission sends letter to Jack Daniels official
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Dawson County officials hope Dawsonville's storied moonshine history will be a factor if Jack Daniels considers leaving Lynchburg, Tenn., in the wake of a possible barrel tax.

When Commissioner Gary Pichon learned about the levy the Lynchburg government has proposed, he saw what could be a boon for the local economy.

"It's clear that the distillery is a huge business, a multibillion dollar business, up in Lynchburg, and it adds a lot to that community," said Pichon, who vacationed in Tennessee last month.

"That they would try to extraordinarily tax them is shortsighted to me. We'd love to have them."

The county commission voted 4-0 last week to send a letter to David Stang, director of branded services for Jack Daniels, asking the nation's top whiskey distiller to consider Dawson County as a future site for all or any portion of the company.

In addition to the billions of dollars in tax revenue from the distilled whiskey, the town of Lynchburg also attracts an estimated 250,000 tourists each year.

"It's huge tourism," Pichon said. "There are hundreds of people that come through that distillery's tour every day, not to mention the hundreds of people who work there, and then all the business activity that it generates in that county."

The letter, written by Pichon on the commission's behalf, also highlights the area's spring water,
infrastructure and workforce, as well as local and state governments that welcome industry.

"The governor, lieutenant governor and the speaker of the Georgia House (of Representatives) come from our region and they will actively support this effort," Pichon wrote. "Please let me know what we may do to bring your business to our county."

Along with the letter, the commission also sent a copy of a recent section of the Dawson Community News, a sister paper of The Times, that pays tribute to the county's "unlicensed" liquor history.

For 44 years, the community has embraced the heritage through the annual Mountain Moonshine Festival.

"It would be a wonderful boon to us if we could have some type of distillery like that come down to our county," Pichon said. "Maybe they'll send part or all, who knows? You never know until you ask."

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