In Reversal, Tennessee Bars Serving Infused Drinks Won’t Be Targeted

The ABC had planned to start enforcing a reinterpreted law from 2006 it said would require a distiller's license to make infused drinks, but the state's Hospitality Association among others argued the move threatened a key part of their industry. Credit Mike McCune / flickr

The ABC had planned to start enforcing a reinterpreted law from 2006 it said would require a distiller’s license to make infused drinks, but the state’s Hospitality Association among others argued the move threatened a key part of their industry. Credit Mike McCune / flickr

Tennessee’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission has decided not to begin enforcing its new interpretation of a rule it said meant bars couldn’t “infuse” liquors for flavor using other ingredients like fruit.  Some had feared the move would hurt restaurants serving drinks like margaritas and sangria, and a lawyer representing a couple national restaurant chains sent a letter challenging the commission’s interpretation of the 2006 last week.

Below is the statement from Keith Bell, the director of Tennessee’s Alcoholic Beverages Commission (bold is  WPLN’s):

Although the process of manufacturing infused alcoholic beverages, not for the consumer’s immediate consumption, by and on the premises of a Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) licensee’s on premises liquor by the drink restaurant remain violations of the Tennessee Code and TABC Rules, the TABC has nevertheless determined it to be in the public interest that the regulatory enforcement of this prohibition be indefinitely suspended in order to formulate workable guidelines and definitions so as to gauge the growing and changing taste and desires of the consuming public.


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