AAIAC

The Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys & Consultants is a select organization of alcoholic beverage licensing and compliance professionals.

Tennessee ABC Names New Commissioner

Richard Skiles was named the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner for the Western Section of Tennessee at the April 6, 2017 TABC meeting. Commissioner Skiles replaces Mary McDaniel, which we blogged about here.

Commissioner Skiles hails from the Home of the White Squirrel, Kenton, located in northwest Tennessee near Union City. We understand that Randy Boyd also calls Kenton home, which may have a little something to do with Commissioner Skiles’ appointment. Mr. Boyd is the former Commissioner of Economic Development and a personal friend of Governor Haslam.

Commissioner Skiles is also from Representative Bill Sanderson’s district. Representative Sanderson is Chair of the House State Government Subcommittee, a position of some power, and also well-versed in alcoholic beverage law. Representative Sanderson owns a winery and is pals with Michael Ballard, purveyor of Full Throttle Sloonshine.

At this point, we know have no information about Commissioner Skiles, but stay tuned for more info.

We make a rare departure from quoting a raucous song to leave you with some trivia about the home of the white squirrel, courtesy of Wiki:  Kenton is one of four communities in the United States that has a large population of albino squirrels. In 2006 the population was estimated at 200, or about one for every six residents.  The town celebrates this anomaly with its annual White Squirrel Festival held during the week in which the Fourth of July falls.

And as long as we are gabbing about the TABC, well-placed sources tell us that the bill to increase the number of Commissioners from three to five is destined to become law. HB1294 has passed the Senate and is set for approval in the House. The bill adds two Commissioners, one appointed by the Speaker of each Chamber.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee Restaurants and Bars Celebrate Larger ABC Fines for Sales to Minors

By - March 17, 2017 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

We rarely hear business owners excited to pay more money to government.  But many Tennessee restaurants, bars and venues are eagerly supporting pending legislation to allow the ABC to increase fines for sales to minors to $10,000.

You can read the entire bill here HB 935

Reliable sources on the Hill say that the bill will become law.

Tennessee is well-known in the nation for under 21 ID stings.  The Tennessee ABC and local law enforcement have been quite successful citing liquor license holders for sales to minors.

Current law limits ABC fines to $1,500 for sales to minors.  Understandably, the ABC has favored suspensions for a second sale to minor within 2 years.  Many licensees have served 7 to 14 day suspensions for a second sale.  Most of the time, an ABC suspension also leads to a beer board suspension.

Industry has been clamoring for allowing the ABC to increase the fine for a second sale to minor – instead of devastating suspensions.

Our good buddy Willa reminds us of the classic John Conlee tune:

The bills are all due
The babies need shoes
I’m busted

Stay tuned for updates about the 2017 legislation session.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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How Do I Transfer a Liquor License When I Purchase a Restaurant or Bar in Tennessee?

By - March 12, 2017 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

We hear it all the time.  A top of the charts question is how do I transfer the liquor license when I purchase a restaurant or bar in Tennessee?

Here is a simple guide.

1. Liquor licenses in Tennessee are not bought and sold.  Unlike many states, liquor  licenses and beer permits are issued to any qualified applicant in Tennessee.  Licenses have no value.

2. When you buy a business that serves beer, wine and spirits, you have to obtain your own beer and liquor licenses.  You can be looking at a prolonged interruption in service if you fail to apply and obtain your own beer and liquor licenses.

3. Make sure you understand local beer board practices.  The rules vary widely from city to city.  For example, in Nashville, it is best to apply at closing, or the beer inspector may visit and tell you to stop selling beer.  Check with your local beer board before closing and make sure you know what you need to do to.  Most importantly, do what you are told by your local beer board.

4. The Tennessee ABC will accept an interim management agreement that allows you to “use” the seller’s liquor license.  The interim management agreement must have some magic language and we strongly advise that you file a copy of the agreement with the ABC at closing.  Otherwise, you risk the ABC revoking the license, which means an interruption in service.

5. Make sure you complete all the steps to obtain your own beer permit and liquor license.  Too often, we hear from well-intentioned purchasers that are facing an interruption in service because they do not obtain their own licenses.

Classic Hank Williams Jr. comes to mind:

Play me the songs about ramblin man
Put old Jim Beam in my hand
Cause you know I still love to get drunk
And hear country sounds

 

 

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee Restaurants, Bars and Hotels Be on the Alert for Immigration Raids

Just today, we heard from a restaurant that was “inspected” by agents looking for illegal immigrants and asking about proper documentation.  Scary stuff.  We understand that one or more Tennessee ABC agents lead the investigation.

Bone McAllester immigration expert Raquel Bellamy offers these Top 5 Immigration Tips for Employers.

Unauthorized immigration is a hot topic these days. Undocumented immigrants are roughly 5% of the U.S. civilian labor force, as reported by the Pew Research Center.  We suspect that many restaurants, bars and hotels have a much higher percentage of illegals.

Some employees give employers fake documents. Other employers intentionally hire undocumented immigrants, to gain a competitive advantage by offering lower pay and fewer protections. In the most egregious scenarios, employers falsify records and participate in labor trafficking by recruiting and smuggling workers from abroad (a big no no!).

A recent federal immigration executive order deputizes state and local law enforcement authorities to act as ICE agents.  Legally, TABC agents, local police and even beer board inspectors can now search your business for illegal or improperly documented immigrants.

Here are our top five immigration tips for employers:

1. Anticipate increased auditing of records to verify I-9 compliance. Locate and organize your records to avoid costly delays. You should have a completed I-9 for each employee.

2. Prepare for the inevitable by conducting an internal audit, which will help you identify any I-9 compliance issues.

3. Consult a competent employment attorney regarding any potential liability for violations of I-9 regulations.

4. Train front office staff (receptionists, hostesses, etc.) on how to respond to law enforcement officials who enter the premises to inquire about immigration violations. Know your rights to limit access of law enforcement officers.

5. Avoid discrimination based on national origin against potential employees. During the interview phase, limit your inquiry to whether the applicant is authorized to work in the United States and whether the applicant will require sponsorship to obtain work authorization. If an applicant or a current employee is confused about work authorization, you should encourage him/her to seek independent counsel.

6. I know I said 5, but who doesn’t love a bonus? Show compassion for workers who are experiencing personal trauma as a result of the changes in immigration enforcement priorities. Even U.S. citizens may experience a high level of anxiety over the potential impact to their family members and friends. Be mindful of negative interactions between employees. Some of my clients have reported workplace harassment. In one instance, a worker was blackmailed by a co-worker who threatened to call ICE. Employers should be aware of any workplace intimidation and maintain a policy against bullying. Again, regardless of your position on the debate, we are all less safe when pockets of our population are particularly vulnerable.

Ray Stevens controversial tune “Come to the U.S.A.” seems timely:

If you thinkin’ about illegal immigration
Be careful when you’re choosin’ the nation
‘Cause breakin’ the law in some countries is frowned upon.
Imagine that.

In a rare bit of shameless self-promotion, we can help you make sure you are properly documented, in case agents come a knockin’.  Feel free to e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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And the Envelope Please…Oscars Not Alone in Accounting Problems: Tennessee Revenue Partially Shut Down for Liquor License Holders

Bone McAllester paralegal extraordinaire, Jennifer Maxey, tells us that the Tennessee Department of Revenue will not process new registrations for sales tax numbers, known as Certificates of Registration, until March 6, 2017.  Apparently, Revenue is the lucky recipient of a computer upgrade.

We understand that as long as a liquor license holder already has a sales tax number, Revenue can accept a new liquor-by-the-drink bond or bond rider.  Distilleries, wineries and breweries can also register new brands, as long as they already have a certificate of registration.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Survey Says: Tennesseans Want to Buy Wine in Groceries on Sundays

We figured that following passage of Wine in Grocery Store legislation, which we affectionately call WIGS, popular demand among consumers would lead to more changes in Tennessee law.

We blogged about pending legislation to legalize the sale of many wine coolers and niche products like sangria mixes in groceries and other food stores.  https://www.lastcalltn.com/tennessee-considers-more-wine-in-grocery-stores-with-legislation/

In our not so humble opinion, one of the biggest changes in Tennessee law is legalizing Sunday sales of wine in Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart and other food stores.  We figure that the vast majority of shoppers would love to be able to buy wine on Sundays.

If Tennessee legalizes Sunday sales of wine in grocery stores, it seems only fair that liquor stores would also be allowed to open on Sunday.  Problem is, we think Tennessee liquor stores will oppose Sunday sales.

Based on our unscientific observations, Sunday is a big day for grocery shopping.  Grocers probably figure that many Sunday shoppers will put a couple of bottles of wine in their carts, if Sunday sales of wine are legal.  Sunday wine at a grocery is essentially an impulse purchase; if I can buy wine when I am Krogering on Sunday, great, if not, I am not going to trek back later in the week to buy wine from a grocery or a liquor store.

Tennessee liquor stores probably see Sunday sales as something they have to do, if food stores can sell wine.  But for a liquor store, being open on Sunday is not likely to draw many new sales.  Grocers already do huge business on Sunday.  Liquor store owners are closed.  Opening Sunday increases employee salaries and other liquor store expenses.

Plus, Tennessee restaurants could see a decline in wine sales from folks that cannot buy wine on Sunday, but want a glass with lunch or dinner.

Our buddy Willa reminds us of “Sunday in the South” by Shenandoah:

Mill worker houses lined up in a row, 
Another southern Sunday morning blow 
Beneath the steeple all the people have begun 
Shakin’ hands with the man who grips the gospel gun

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee Considers More Wine in Grocery Stores with Legislation

Wine in Grocery Store legislation, which we affectionately call WIGS, allowed Tennessee grocery stores to sell wine beginning July 1, 2016, with a food store license issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

WIGS was a messy compromise.  We expected that WIGS would be revised to fix thorny issues.

A bill pending in the 2017 Tennessee Legislature will change the legal definition of wine and, in our humble opinion, allow food stores to legally sell many wine coolers and wine cocktails that are already on shelves.

Here is the problem.  Current law says that wine sold by a grocery store must be:

the product of the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of fresh, sound, ripe grapes, with the usual cellar treatment and necessary additions to correct defects due to climatic, saccharine and seasonal conditions, including champagne, sparkling and fortified wine of an alcoholic content not to exceed eighteen percent (18%) by volume. No other product shall be called “wine” unless designated by appropriate prefixes descriptive of the fruit or other product from which the same was predominantly produced, or an artificial or imitation wine.

Are you asleep yet?  Seriously, the definition is so hopelessly complicated that in our opinion, it is pretty much unenforceable by the TABC.

Pending legislation expands the definition of wine to eliminate the controversy.

The Tennessee ABC describes the legislative change at Sections 4, 5, and 6 – Definition of Wine  SB695-HB435 Legislation Summary

The entire bill is here.  HB0435 HB0435

Paralegal extraordinaire Vicki reminds us of a fitting Kenny Chesney song:

Mama told them Jesus loves a sinner
His daddy said that music saved his soul
Between the rockers and the band
It’s a fitting promise land

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee Legislature Looks to Legion of Liquor Laws

The Tennessee state legislature is in session again and several changes are proposed for alcoholic beverages.  Our friends at Nashville law firm Gullet Sanford have done such a good job summarizing the biggest bill that we link to their post here.  http://gsrmalcoholicbeveragelaw.com/alcoholicbeveragecleanupbillfiled/

Here is a copy of the bill, for anyone having problems with insomnia.  http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0435.pdf

Our good friend Willa reminds us of the Eric Church classic Drink in My Hand:

To fill it up, or throw it down
I got a forty hour week worth of trouble to drown
No need to complicate it, I’m a simple man
All you got to do is put a drink in my hand

Stay tuned as we continue our coverage of the 2017 legislative session.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee State Legislature Proposes to Sidestep Metro Nashville Beer Board Approval for Restaurants, Hotels and Other Liquor License Holders

As we read it, a bill pending before the Tennessee State Legislature would essentially bypass the Metro Nashville beer application process for restaurants, hotels and other establishments with an on-premise liquor license issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.  Just file an application, pay the $250 fee and you can serve beer.

The legislation is here HB0351.

The law also seems to eliminate the 100 foot distance requirement from houses, churches, schools and other disqualifying uses.  Metro Nashville requirements for beer applicants would not apply, based on our take of the bill.

The classic 1975 “I’m Just a Bill” Schoolhouse Rock Saturday morning cartoon lesson is compelling:

I’m just a bill
Yes I’m only a bill,
And I got as far as Capitol Hill.
Well, now I’m stuck in committee
And I’ll sit here and wait
While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate
Whether they should let me be a law.
How I hope and pray that they will,
But today I am still just a bill.

Frankly, we hope the legislation gets stuck in committee.  We are not a fan of state laws that eliminate local laws.  Although we would love to see Metro Nashville modernize the beer laws and the beer application process, Metro Nashville can and should do so by passing a city ordinance.

We also see the legislation as yet another step by the state to eliminate local beer boards.  For decades, Tennessee law has given cities and counties considerable leeway to decide how and where beer can be sold.  Tennessee beer laws and beer boards are often cumbersome for businesses to navigate, but are an important local control over alcoholic beverages.

For example, the 100 foot distance requirement in Metro Nashville has been the subject of considerable debate.  Currently, a restaurant that is too close to a house, church or school has to publish a public notice and have their local council member introduce a city law to waive the requirement.  In our humble opinion, Nashville should decide the fate of the distance requirement.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Which Employees Can My Restaurant or Bar Legally Tip?

We hear lots of questions about tipping.  Can I include kitchen staff in tips?  Can food runners share tips?  What about my sushi chef?

Restaurants, bars, caterers and venues often surprise us with innovative ideas about tipping employees.  Unfortunately, tipping has not so clear laws about who can – and more importantly – who cannot share in tips.

Bone McAllester employment guru Anne Martin gives this sage advice.

There are three basic factors to consider when determining if you can share tips with an employee:

Does the employee meaningfully participate in the customer experience? Is the employee part of management, which is undefined but disqualifies tipping? Is the position customarily and regularly tipped in the industry?

Whether an employee can be tipped really depends on specific job duties.  Servers and bartenders can clearly be tipped.  Prep chefs and bus boys generally cannot.

In our humble opinion, the third factor, “is this a position that is normally tipped,” works against innovative entrepreneurs.  For example, some of our restaurant clients feature food prep as a key part of the customer experience.  Like innumerable cable food shows, watching your food being prepared is entertainment.

The roles of traditional servers and chefs, for example, have blurred in recent years.

In our experience, the law is slow to accept new practices.  Sharing tips with chefs and other food prep staff could be risky.

It all boils down to the specific facts.

We encourage folks with good questions to reach out to Anne with specific asks This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Anne really knows her stuff and is well worth paying for staying out of trouble.

A classic Michelle Shocked tune comes to mind, although wethinks Michelle is celebrating the jam that makes Music City famous, and not so much the sweet stuff you find at Loveless Cafe:

Yeah, we have a little revolution sweeping the land
Now once more everybody’s making homemade jam
So won’t you call your friends up on the telephone
You invite ’em on over, you make some jam of your own
You’ll be making jam
Strawberry jam
If you want the best jam
You gotta make your own

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Carding Sting for Tennessee Retail Liquor Stores Delivering Alcoholic Beverages

We recently learned of a new downside for Tennessee retail liquor stores delivering bottles of alcohol to customers.  The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission cited at least one off-premises license holder for delivering hooch to a confidential informant.

The sale to minor citation involved a call to the package store for delivery of a bottle of alcoholic beverages to a nearby hotel.  The store took the order, processed a credit card and sent an employee to deliver the booze.  We understand that the employee met the “customer” in the hotel lobby and carded the “customer.”

Unfortunately for the retail store, the employee misread the age and completed the sale by delivering the bottle to the underaged informant.  The ABC issued a citation for sale to minor.  Based on what we know, the informant presented an authentic Tennessee driver’s license with a red box around the photo, indicating that the informant was under 21.

Time and time again, we remind license holders to train employees to focus on under 21 Tennessee IDs. Please, please please. The ABC is doing a great job with underage stings.  We recently blogged about 429 ABC sale to minor citations over the past year.

Willa brings up The Police’s 1983 massive hit:

Every move you make, every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you

E-mail us if you would like to learn more about our Red Box Carding techniques at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The ABC is definitely watching you.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee ABC Updated Citation List Shows Seriousness of Sales to Minors

We love that the new Tennessee ABC under Clay Byrd is committed to transparency.  A huge new development under Director Byrd’s leadership is compiling and releasing comprehensive reports of all ABC citations against license holders.

The most recent report is here.  The 98 page report summarizes citations from January 2016 through the first few days of January 2017.

Our rough count shows 429 sales to minor citations in just over a year.  The Tennessee ABC has deployed well-trained agents that, based on our casual observations, are successfully targeting large chains and independent restaurants, hotels and venues.

We strongly encourage license holders to double down on carding of Under 21 Tennessee driver’s licenses, which have a red box around the photo.  We have been teaching Red Box Carding to help prevent failing ABC compliance checks and encourage readers to let us know if they want more info about this tested ID technique.

Our friend Willa reminds us of Brad Paisley’s classic song “Alcohol”

I got you in trouble in high school
And college now that was a ball
You had some of the best times
You’ll never remember with me
Alcohol, alcohol

The report also shows $771,050 collected by the ABC in fines during the past year and a few days.  That hits your bottom line.

Be vigilant and please let us know if you want to focus on Red Box Carding.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Don’t Expect Tennessee ABC Commissioner McDaniel to Stop Rockin’

Turnover among Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commissioners is inevitable.  Although the alcoholic beverage industry is relatively glamorous, as compared with morticians and auditors, for example, serving as a Commissioner is no walk in the park.  Believe it or not, we are a demanding group of constituents that often have vastly conflicting agendas.

It comes as no surprise that West Tennessee Commissioner Mary McDaniel announced her resignation at this month’s January 24, 2017 ABC meeting.  Commissioner McDaniel has served approximately six years.  And the verb “served” sums it up nicely.  Through wine in groceries, five legislative sessions and three ABC Directors.  Can someone toll the Bell for Commissioner McDaniel – well, maybe not…

In all seriousness, we thank Commissioner McDaniel for all she has done for the Tennessee alcoholic beverage industry.  Run DMC seems appropriate:

I’m the king of rock, there is none higher
Sucker MC’s should call me sire
To burn my kingdom, you must use fire
I won’t stop rockin’ till I retire

Commissioner McDaniel hasn’t let retirement slow her down.  The ABC is only one of many social endeavors blessed by Ms. McDaniel’s hard work.  Keep on rocking!

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Photos from Liquor Conferences

We have been remiss in not posting photos from liquor conferences.  Sorry.

Reminds us of Nirvana’s All Apologies:

What else should I write

I don’t have the right

What else should I be

All apologies

Here are photos from the 2016 annual meeting of the National Association of Licensing and Compliance Professionals.

And from the 2016 Regional National Conference of State Liquor Administrators.

Last but not least, from the Tenth Anniversary Hawaii Meeting of the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants.

 

 

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tennessee Department of Revenue Revamps Liquor-by-the-Drink Bond Process

The Department of Revenue recently announced major changes to liquor bonds for Tennessee restaurants, bars, venues and other liquor license holders.  Read more here.

We expect some chaos, which at least keeps it interesting for us jaded old fools.

Speaking of old folks, chaos reminds us of this classic Cold War parody from Get Smart:

For those that hold more than one license in Tennessee, the proposed changes are fantastic.  You will only need one bond, if you file the proper election.  We will let you know when the election becomes available, probably late this year.

As we read the announcement, Revenue also says it will not change bond amounts until after September 30, 2017.  No more dreaded LBD bond audit and worrying about increasing the amount of your bond at renewal, at least for a few months.

In the meantime, we strongly encourage licensees to renew bonds, CDs and cash deposits in lieu of bonds.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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High Grav Beer Law Change Has Hidden Consequences for Tennessee Breweries

We follow up our Tennessee high gravity beer news with minutia that only a serious industry member like a Brewery could appreciate.  The info in this post is compliments of Bone McAllester Alcoholic Beverage team member Rob Pinson, after consulting with reliable sources.  This is all subject to change, as the “law” is being interpreted.  We applaud Revenue for the guidance.

$100 Brand Fee

Revenue will not require this. Whether it is for new brands, existing brands, or renewals of beer between 5-8%, Revenue will not require the $100 fee (and we do not believe that the ABC has the authority to collect it either).

For beer at or below 5% ABW

Proceed as usual. Submit territorial designation form to Revenue. No renewals.

If introducing a new beer between 5% and 8% ABW

The brewery should send in the beer territorial designation form, the ABW % for the product, a copy of the COLA (if required by TTB), a copy of the label, the wholesaler contract (which is still required under the law, even though it is technically beer), and the brand registration form (ALC119). There is no fee with this registration. Revenue will register the beer brand in both the liquor brand list and the beer brand list.

If you have an existing brand that is between 5% and 8% ABW

The brewery should send Revenue a list of their brands and the ABW % for each brand. The beer brand will remain on the liquor brand list (minus wholesaler and counties) and get added to the beer brand list. Revenue is working on a letter to go out about this and we will share this when it becomes available.

For renewals

Revenue will send out renewal forms for the 5/31 renewal deadline for the liquor brand list. Breweries should follow the above guidelines to make sure they receive this in the mail. There are no renewals for beer brands at or below 5% ABW.

Beer Barrelage Tax

I have also confirmed that Revenue expects wholesalers to pay the $4.29 beer barrelage tax and not manufacturers.  Although we disagree with this interpretation of the law, we are not the Tax Man.  Tax on beer self-distributed by the brewery or sold on site is still subject to the tax and paid by the brewery.

We think of the classic tax song Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival:

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Ring in the New Year by Forgetting About Tennessee’s Crazy High Gravity Beer Laws

On January 1, 2017, the legal definition of beer in Tennessee changes from 5% to 8% alcohol by weight.  Meaning that beers with less than roughly 10% alcohol by volume no longer fall into that crazy category known as high gravity beer.

In Tennessee, beers stronger than 5% by weight or around 6.5% by volume were taxed and distributed as alcoholic beverages.  For consumers, it meant higher prices and not being able to buy a high grav beer at a grocery or convenience store.

No longer.  Although there are a few serious suds stronger than 8% by weight, the vast majority of high gravity beers will magically become regular “beer” in the New Year.  You can Kroger for high grav.  You will no longer pay the 15% alcoholic beverage tax at restaurants and bars.

The ancient and odd (at least to us) New Year’s traditional tune Auld Lang Syne comes to mind:

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!

The new law fails to anticipate a number of details, which we expect will confuse industry members for some time.  But, please, everyone say thanks to the Tennessee Legislature for fixing the high gravity beer problem.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Wine is Probably a Bad Idea for a Holiday Present from a Tennessee Restaurant

We often get this question during the holidays?  Can my restaurant or bar give a bottle of wine or spirits to a vendor or good customer for Christmas in Tennessee?

We recommend not.

First, we suspect that an ABC agent will presume that the restaurant is giving away alcohol for off-premises consumption, which is a huge no no.

Legally, we think that an owner of a restaurant should be able to purchase alcohol at a liquor store and give it as a gift.  The dilemma is that the owner will certainly include a card that indicates that the gift is on behalf of the restaurant.  It looks like the restaurant is making the gift.

Although you may be able to contest the citation, the gift of alcohol raises too many problems and we recommend against it.

A Christmas classic cones to mind:

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn’t know what to think of him until he sang
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

 

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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Tentative 2017 Legislative Wish List for Tennessee ABC

We love the transparency of the new Tennessee ABC regime under relatively new Director Clay Byrd.  For example, at the regular December ABC meeting, Assistant Director Zach Blair announced the following issues for the 2017 legislative session.

Please keep in mind that this is our take on the announcement and not official positions of the ABC.

· Conflicts of interest at ABC – currently relatives of ABC staff and commissioners cannot hold server permits. The ABC wants to permit this.
· Delinquencies with wholesalers – current law requires an automatic admin hearing if more than two delinquencies occur in a given period of time. The ABC wants to remove the mandatory hearing and be able to issue citations.
· Indirect interests – the ABC wants to define this by statute, probably similar to what the draft proposed rules say.
· Underage sale citations – the ABC wants to expand the civil penalty options.
· Donated alcohol to special occasion licenses – the ABC wants to permit this expressly for auctioning off the bottles.
· Private party – the ABC wants to codify a definition for this; we are not sure what it will be.
· Seasonal closings – the ABC wants to expand the areas where this is permitted; currently only allowed in river resort districts.
· Eligibility for server permits – the ABC wants to codify the felonies that prohibit someone from getting a server permit.
· Revocations – the ABC wants to codify the draft proposed rule that surrendering a license can be treated as a revocation when there is an agreed order signed.

Special thanks to Bone alcoholic beverage team member Rob Pinson for this summary.

Brings to mind the AC/DC classic “Breaking the Rules”

Just keep on breakin’ the rules
C’mon get ready to rule
Just keep on breakin’ the rules

 

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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TTB Establishes Waiver Process for Late Excise Tax Filings for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Distilleries Affected by Fires

A small but important silver lining for moonshiners in Sevier County.  After the tragic fire, we asked the TTB to consider easing the deadlines on reporting and paying excise taxes – to give impacted distilleries time to recover.  We blogged about it here.

The announcement from TTB is great news and here is the e-mail:

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recognizes that the devastation caused by wildfires in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, may have affected your operations. As a result, you may not be able to timely file returns or timely pay or deposit the excise taxes administered by TTB, as required by the Internal Revenue Code. TTB will consider waiving late filing, payment, or deposit penalties on a case-by case basis. Waivers will be approved based on the statutory standard of reasonable cause and a lack of willful neglect.

To qualify for such a waiver, you must:

1) Demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the appropriate TTB officer, that the wildfires or related events directly affected your ability to timely file tax returns and/or pay or deposit excise taxes; and

2) Contact the TTB National Revenue Center at

550 Main St, Ste 8002
Cincinnati, OH 45202-5215
Toll free: 1-877-882-3277
Direct: (513) 684-3334
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One of Willa’s favorites by Alan Jackson comes to mind:

Pop a top again
I think I’ll have another round
Set ’em up my friend
Then I’ll be gone and you can let some other fool sit down.

Original author: William T. Cheek III
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