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Free Booze for Tastings at Tennessee Restaurants and Bars?
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Free Booze for Tastings at Tennessee Restaurants and Bars?

06.27.17
The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission cracked down on free booze beginning July 1, 2014. We blogged about it here.

Distilleries, wineries, importers and other manufacturers can no longer give free product to wholesalers and retailers. This was a big change for the industry.

In the 2014 legislative session, as part of the ugly compromise that legalized wine in grocery stores (which we affectionately call "WIGS"), retail liquor stores were granted the right to accept free product from distilleries and importers, as we blogged here. All free product must pass though the wholesalers.

We thought that the new free-booze for tastings rule only applied to retail package stores - not restaurants, bars and other on-premise license holders. WIGS specifically applies to food stores and retail package stores.

The TABC appears to be interpreting the new free booze rule for tastings as applying to both on and off-premises retail licensees. If so, this is a huge benefit for restaurants and bars.

The TABC  has proposed regs out for informal comment on this and other issues. We will keep readers posted on updates.

Bruno Mars' Liquor Store Blues comes to mind:

Standing at this liquor store
Whisky coming through my pores
Feeling like I run this whole block
Lotto tickets and cheap beer
That's why you can catch me here
Tryna scratch my way up to the top



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