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Is Tennessee ABC Checking References for Officers, Owners and Managers of Restaurants, Bars, Wholesalers and Distilleries?
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Is Tennessee ABC Checking References for Officers, Owners and Managers of Restaurants, Bars, Wholesalers and Distilleries?

04.14.14
Curiosity killed the cat, so the old fable goes.  If the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission is checking references, what in the world is the ABC asking?

Allow us to briefly explain.  For as long as anyone can remember, ABC questionnaires have asked for three personal and one bank reference.  ABC Questionnaires are required for all managers, officers and owners of liquor license holders.  Industry veterans know them as pink forms, because of their color.

Although the ABC has broad authority to investigate applicants, we do not know of any law or regulation that specifically addresses checking references.  Historically, we don't recall the ABC checking any references.  Never.

We do know the ABC has conducted at least one independent criminal background check of a restaurant owner, which was a first for us.  Read here for more info.

Today, April 14, 2014, we were asked to provide complete addresses for a couple of ABC Questionnaires.  Was the request just part of wanting complete forms, or an indication that the ABC needs the information to be able to check references.

And if the ABC is checking references, what is the ABC asking of your preacher, banker or trusted advisor?  Whether they know of any crimes you may have committed?  Do you drink too much?  With no guidelines, who knows what the ABC might ask.

Coldplay has a classic on the topic:

And the spies came out of the water
But you're feeling so bad cos you know
But the spies hide out in every corner
But you can't touch them no
Cos they're all spies
They're all spies
Like all government agencies, the ABC budget is very tight.  Agents and staff are not looking for things to do.  We do not expect a barrage of reference checking.

But the prospect of a reference receiving a call from the ABC is troubling.

As always, we will keep you posted.

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