Here at Belcher Sykes Harrington, PLLC, we hope that you are responsibly “poppin’ bottles” this holiday season with your friends and loved ones. Just don’t pop a bottle of liquor in your favorite bar or restaurant, at least while still inside of the state of Tennessee. What about a bottle of wine? Knock yourself out. The prohibition discussed in this article applies to spirits only. We not only represent small and independent businesses such as distilleries, breweries, distributors, bars and restaurants, but also large businesses such as sports authority venues and hotel properties. A question we often get asked by industry members of all types is whether bottles of liquor can be sold to customers and guests. Unfortunately, there is no liquor “bottle service” in Tennessee; meaning that a bar or restaurant, otherwise known as “on-premise” liquor-by-the-drink establishments, cannot sell you a bottle of Jack Daniel’s for you and your party to drink VIP-style. Retail liquor stores can, of course, sell bottles of liquor. Manufacturers, such as distilleries, can also sell bottles of their product in their tasting room direct to consumer, although these bottles must be consumed off of the manufacturer’s premises. Hotels can also sell bottles of liquor, under tight restrictions.
In Tennessee, a hotel can only offer bottles of spirits in conjunction with a booking for accommodations (room rates). For example, you may offer a per night/per room charge with no special offering/package, and a separate offering, say the “Belle Meade Bourbon Package,” “Jack Daniel’s Charcoal Filtration Package,” “George Dickel Whiskey Advocate Numero Uno Package,” or “Tennessee Whiskey Experience Package.” The hotel may include up to four (4) bottles of alcohol per registered guest. You can charge whatever the market will bear for your package, but you must only sell or offer bottles of spirits alongside bookings/reservations for accommodations. You will still want to pay liquor by the drink tax on the bottle being offered. As a hotel, you absolutely cannot offer bottles of spirits for sale in your gift shop, restaurant, or any other point of sale.
(2) A licensee shall not give away any such sealed package or any drink of wine or alcoholic beverage to any patron or customer; provided, that:
(A) A hotel licensed under this chapter may include as part of the accommodations to a registered guest the provision of up to four (4) seven hundred fifty milliliter (750 ml.) or smaller complimentary sealed packages of wine or alcoholic beverages for which all applicable taxes have been paid;
Last modified: November 30, 2020