Tennessee Distilleries and Wineries Can Be Shut Down for Sales to Minors

Tennessee Distilleries and Wineries Can Be Shut Down for Sales to Minors

The Tennessee ABC's widespread compliance checks for sales to minors are testing wineries and distilleries.  We hear that at least one winery has failed and has been charged with a first count of sale to minor.

Why worry?  Under the ABC's new policy for sales to minors, a second sale results in a 10 - 14 day suspension.

Based on what we have heard from the ABC, the suspension shuts down manufacturing.  Meaning that a second sale to minor could halt distilling or wine making for up to 2 weeks.

Hee Haw's hard to forget tune by Buck Owens & Roy Clark comes to mind:

Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery

If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all

Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Imagine Jack Daniel's shut down for two weeks.  The economic impact would be enormous.

For distilleries, there is a way to prevent sanctions of retail sales from impacting distilling.  The new distillery law grants rights to taste and sell at retail with no additional license.  But the downside is that a sale to minor at the tasting room can shut down distilling.

The prior method for selling at retail required two permits - one for distilling and one for retail sales.  The prior method is still valid and we encourage distilleries to consider going "Back to the Future."

With separate licenses, sales to minors should not impact the right to distill.

We hope that a Legislative solution comes forth.  The prior retail license is not as business friendly and the consequences of sales to minors at wineries and distilleries is devastating.

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