Will Cheek's Last Call Blog

A Blog About Alcohol and Beverage Law
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Dead again: Court strikes down Tennessee residency requirement for liquor store owners


Category: ABC, liquor stores, residency requirement


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Source: Miosotis Jade 

The verdict is in.  The two-year residency requirement for Tennessee liquor stores is officially dead.  Again.

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a lower court finding that Tennessee residency requirements violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The court struck down portions of state law that require a liquor store owner to live in Tennessee for at least two years prior to applying and to be a resident for 10 years to renew a liquor store license.

This quote pretty much sums up the court’s finding:

“The Twenty-first Amendment gives a state the power to oversee the alcoholic-beverages business, but it does not give a state the power to dictate where individuals live.”

Click the link to read the court's full decision. Byrd v TN Wine and Spirits.pdf

Out of state residents qualify for retail liquor licenses in Tennessee.  This question appears to be settled, once and for all.

Just last month, the Tennessee ABC approved the first Total Wine location at 11370 Parkside Drive in Knoxville.  For those that live under a rock, Total Wine is a Maryland-based chain of liquor superstores.  Overall, it has more than 170 superstores in 20 states. Total Wine challenged and won the local residency requirement.  Twice in court, as of yesterday.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Mr. Roger’s immortal public TV show, this tune comes to mind:

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.

Since we're together we might as well say:

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won't you be my neighbor?

Let’s all be neighbors and open a friendly neighborhood liquor store.  Whether you hail from Minnetonka, Minnesota; Missoula, Montana; or Moscow, Tennessee.

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Original author: William T. Cheek III
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