Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Gets Tough on Citations for Server Permit Cards

Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Gets Tough on Citations for Server Permit Cards

We have been blogging about a multitude of new rules from the Tennessee ABC in their quest to "clean up" the liquor laws. Yesterday, we learned that the TABC has adopted a zero tolerance policy for restaurant, hotel and bar servers that do not have server permit cards available at an ABC inspection.

In the past, the TABC has allowed a liquor licensee to provide copies of server permit cards, after an inspection. If the establishment could prove that the server had a card, the TABC would not issue a citation.

No more. Citing the exact language of the TABC rule, TABC Assistant Director Ginna Winfree declined to drop a citation against one of our hotel clients that provided proof of a valid server permit card, after the TABC inspection.

TABC Rule 0100-01-.03(18) requires that licensees have a copy of server permit cards available for review. We do not disagree with the reading of the law, but it is an unfair and unrealistic expectation.

Brings to mind Hank William's classic Cocaine Blues:

Got up next morning and I grabbed my gun
I took a shot of cocaine and away I run
Made a good run but I run too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez Mexico

We have always recommended that restaurants, hotels and bars keep copies of server permit cards on file in the office. Failure to keep copies often leads to paying free money to the state. The basic fine is $150 per server, which can quickly add up to a big fine.

The new TABC policy makes it even more important for liquor licensees to keep copies on file. Unless you just like handing over more of your hard-earned profits to the state.

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