Kingsport vs. New York: Why the beverage battle is about more than friendly competition

Kingsport vs. New York: Why the beverage battle is about more than friendly competition

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A battle is brewing, pitting the North against the South about a piece of history, claiming who really created the Long Island Iced Tea.

The contest is generating headlines across the country. The city of Kingsport claims you can’t top their "original" Long Island Iced Tea. But some New Yorkers say – not so fast, issuing a taste-test challenge. The Model City says "game on," and they’re prepared to fill the tall order.

The people of Kingsport are standing their ground as the home of the original Long Island Iced Tea, but for Kingsport, this is about more than just some friendly competition. It’s about taking pride in the community, and putting Kingsport on the map for people and places who have never heard about it before.

"They’re saying, ‘Oh no no no. Ours is best.’ Well guess what, ours is the original," said Lara Potter, with Visit Kingsport.

"We are claiming the real Long Island Iced Tea. Long Island Iced Tea as it is most served across the country and the globe is our recipe," said Jamie Claudio, with Discover Long Island.

The Kingsport recipe uses vodka, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey, and a key ingredient – maple syrup.

"To which we would say maple syrup is for pancakes not for iced tea," Claudio said.

It’s clear on the surface, this is all a friendly competition.

"I’ve never been to New York so I don’t know how they do it there, but I know that it can’t be anything like it is here, because there’s nothing better," said Trey Devault.

But Kingsport is taking hold of an even bigger opportunity.

"People now know us, we’re on the map, this has put Kingsport on the map. This is going to get people to come and visit our community, experience all that we have beyond the Long Island Iced Tea," said Potter.

There really is only one way to settle this battle of the beverages, and that will be a drink-off. It’s going to be "yall" versus "you guys."

Visit Kingsport says they’re working with Long Island to make that happen as soon as possible.

Copyright 2018 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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