Posts

Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Investigation Results in Fines and Injunction Against Retailers Illegally Shipping to Consumers in Tennessee

After several years of investigations, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) announced a court-approved settlement that includes injunctive relief and over $50,000 in civil penalties levied against five online liquor stores unlawfully shipping alcohol direct to consumers without proper licensing. Executive Director Russell Thomas issued a strong warning against illegal shippers: “These penalties mark a …

WORKFORCE EXPANSION BILL OPENS ELIGIBILITY FOR TENNESSEE LIQUOR-BY-THE-DRINK LICENSEES

We are pleased to have Ryan Mercurio, lawyer in our firm’s alcohol licensing division, author the below article which details a major change to Tennessee law for DACA status individuals wishing to participate in the hospitality industry.  Ryan is formerly of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and we are fortunate to have him as a …

FTC PUBLISHES RULE BANNING NON-COMPETES 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is publishing a proposed rule (Non-Compete Clause Final Rule (ftc.gov) which would prohibit most employers from entering into non-compete clauses with most workers, also nullifying non-compete clauses entered into previously with most workers.  There is a carve-out for “senior executives.”  If the proposed rule is made permanent, employers will be required …

HOW TO REGISTER LOW AND HIGH GRAVITY BEER BRANDS WITH TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

We at BSH are frequently provide guidance and compliance assistance for suppliers and wholesalers with the registration of beer brands with the Tennessee Department of Revenue (TDOR) so that the beers can be introduced for sale withing the state of Tennessee.  The definition of beer in Tennessee as slid upwards from an ABW threshold of 5% …

UPDATE TO TENNESSEE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE COMMISSION RESTAURANT/BAR APPLICATION PROCESS

On August 30, 2023, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission communicated a change to the licensing application process for bars and restaurants which will require that any incomplete application be brought to completion and satisfaction by the applicant industry member within 45 days from submission.  Failure to provide all required documents within the 45 day timeframe …

BIG NEWS FOR TENNESSEE WINE – PROPOSED UPPER CUMBERLAND VITICULTURAL AREA

On Tuesday, August 29th, the The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published the Proposed Establishment of the Upper Cumberland Viticultural Area request for comment on the Federal Register – Daily Journal of the United States Government. The full publication can be found here:  Federal Register :: Proposed Establishment of the Upper Cumberland Viticultural …

HARRINGTON CONTRIBUTES GUEST COLUMN TO NASHVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL

 I was pleased to be asked by the Nashville Business Journal to pen a guest column regarding the state of cannabis in Tennessee and predictions for the future.  The full column, published in digital and print formats on February 10, 2023, can be accessed here.

IMPORTANT CHANGES TO HOW TAX CREDITS FOR IMPORTED ALCOHOL UNDER CRAFT BEVERAGE MODERNIZATION ACT WORK

If you operate as a U.S. alcoholic beverage importer that remits federal excise tax, or a foreign supplier of alcohol with products that are offered for sale in the U.S. there are essential, recently implemented changes that must be understood and adhered to as it pertains to remitting the tax and requesting tax credits under …

NASHVILLE CANNABIS LIVE CHAT

On November 10, 2022, I was invited as Chairman of the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission to participate in the Big Plan Holdings Cannabis Live Chat.  This was a well-produced and attended event which focused on current issues and predictions in the cannabis industry, both in and outside of the state of Tennessee.  I was honored …

BSH member and Chairman of the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission, Curtis Harrington, interviewed by National Public Radio regarding the commission’s work and the state of cannabis in Tennessee.

A commission named by the Tennessee legislature to study medical cannabis regulation is struggling to get the attention of the lawmakers who appointed them. The 9-member panel is warning that the state must deal with cannabis, because it’s already everywhere. The cannabis commission issued its first report nearly a year ago outlining how surrounding states …

HOW TO OBTAIN A “USE UP” REQUEST FOR DISTILLED SPIRITS OR WINE LABELS

If you are a distillery, winery, or brand owner of alcoholic beverages, and have been in business long enough, you have likely faced a situation where your product labels which have already been applied to your bottles are no longer accurate and thus, technically, non-compliant.  Fortunately, there is a process offered by the U.S. Alcohol …

WHAT ARE “INFUSED” ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND CAN BARS AND RESTAURANTS INFUSE COCKTAILS WITH CANNABIS?

In the state of Tennessee, we have special regulations which allow the production and sale of “infused” alcoholic beverage products by licensed alcoholic beverage on-premise consumption retailers, such as bars, restaurants, and hotels.  Pursuant to statute, the retailer is allowed to combine an alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic beverage or product with the intention (and …

Local attorney appointed to Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission

Attorney Curtis R. Harrington II, of Nashville-based law firm Belcher Sykes Harrington, has been appointed by Gov. Bill Lee to serve as a member of Tennessee’s first Medical Cannabis Commission, according to a release.  In 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly passed into law a bill forming the nine-member Medical Cannabis Commission and tasking the commission …

FEDERAL REPUBLICAN CANNABIS BILL SEEKS TO TREAT CANNABIS LIKE ALCOHOL AND OFFERS SWEEPING REFORMS

GOP Congresswoman Mace, a South Carolina Republican, has introduced the States Reform Act (SRA), which joins the MORE Act legislation as a proposed sweeping change to U.S. cannabis law.  The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Peter Meijer, R-Mich., and Don Young, R-Alaska. “Today, only three states …

FEDERAL ALCOHOL TAX AND TRADE BUREAU REACHES OUT TO VICTIMS OF HURRICANE IDA AND WILDFIRE DISASTERS

My wife and I are from Louisiana and are so thankful that our families and loved ones made it through Hurricane Ida.  My wife is from Houma, Louisiana, which is south of New Orleans and which was in the direct path of Ida as a Category 4 hurricane.  The town and region is now a …

METRO NASHVILLE INCREASES TAX RATE FOR THE CENTRAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (“CBID”)

On July 1, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”) imposed a fee increase to the Central Business Improvement District (“CBID”) retailers on certain retail items and services that are subject to Tennessee sales tax. The fee has increased from 0.25% to 0.50%. The CBID fee is imposed on retailers in the district, …

TENNESSEANS TO ENJOY SWEEPING SALES TAX HOLIDAY

Special thanks to my Loyal Lieutenant, Janelle Beasley, formerly of the Tennessee Department of Revenue, for authoring this insightful article! It’s that time of year again for Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday. This is the weekend where certain clothing, school supplies, and computers are completely sales tax free in the state. This year the tax -free …

TTB ENFORCEMENT MEASURES UPDATE: TTB TRADE PRACTICE/TIED HOUSE VIOLATION RESULTS IN $850,000 FINE FOR ILLINOIS WHOLESALER

A TTB Trade Practice Investigation has resulted in an $850,000 Offer in Compromise for Illinois-based wholesalers, RN Acquisition, LLC and City Beverage – Markham, LLC of Chicago and Arlington Heights, Illinois.  The U.S. alcoholic beverage industry has seen an increase in enforcement measures by the TTB following the TTB’s enforcement budget increase of the past …

WHAT TYPES OF BEER WHOLESALER/DISTRIBUTOR CHANGES REQUIRE SUPPLIER CONSENT?

In this article, I will discuss some of the laws and considerations pertaining to when a beer wholesaler is required to provide notice to its suppliers, and in some cases even required to obtain written consent from its beer suppliers, in the event of a sale or transfer of the wholesaler’s business.  Transfers can take …

NASHVILLE EASES COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FOR BARS/RESTAURANTS/GATHERINGS

On Wednesday, April 14th, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced that COVID restrictions applying to bars, restaurants, and outdoor gathering venues will be lifted as of April 16th.  The updated restrictions are as follows: Total capacity for seated, socially-distanced patrons increases to 225 per floor of establishment Closing time is back to 3:00 a.m. The number of …

TENNESSEE ALCOHOL DIRECTOR ISSUES STATEMENT RE: ONLINE SALES BY LIQUOR STORES

On Monday, February 8, 2021, Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Director Russell Thomas released the below memorandum, titled Retail Operation Requirement for Retail Package Stores.  The memo clarifies a bit of an open question faced by the TABC and industry members in 2020/2021, which is whether a industry member which purchases, stores, and sells beverage alcohol products …

COVID RESTRICTIONS FOR NASHVILLE BARS, RESTAURANTS, BREWERIES AND DISTILLERIES AS WE HEAD INTO 2021

2021 is finally here – may it be a bit kinder on humankind than its predecessor. As we head into the New Year, it is important to remain mindful of the COVID restrictions imposed on bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and other gathering places within Metro Nashville.  All restrictions and other resources can be found here. Be …

POPPIN’ BOTTLES : CAN BARS, RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS SELL BOTTLES OF LIQUOR TO CUSTOMERS IN TENNESSEE?

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.  …

GROWING COVID-19 NUMBERS, MORE STATE SHUTDOWNS, AND THE AFFECT ON ALCOHOL AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRIES

Unless you have been living under a rock, in a primitive cabin in the Alaskan wilderness (can I visit?), or deep in the bottle, you are aware that we are seeing COVID-19 numbers skyrocket nationally.  As a result, states are taking action in the form of a wave of executive orders calling for closures, shutdowns …

FEDERAL LABELING TIP: HOW TO INCLUDE NET CONTENTS ON YOUR BEER LABEL FOR QUICKER TTB APPROVAL

We handle a great deal of beer, wine and distilled spirits labeling and compliance work and we always love to share great resources when we find them.  You have completed the hard work of bringing your very first beer or your new seasonal style from concept to finished product and you are finally ready for distribution …

NASHVILLE BARS ALLOWED TO REOPEN WITH UP TO 25 PATRONS

On Thursday, August 13th, Nashville Mayor John Cooper stated that Nashville bars will be allowed to reopen on Monday, August 17th with up to 25 patrons only.  The new mandate rules will also extend the curfew imposed on restaurants from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., which Cooper stated would allow businesses one more round of …

METRO NASHVILLE BEER BOARD VOTES TO EXTEND CURBSIDE SALES AND DELIVERY THROUGH OCTOBER 2020

Through Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Beer Board Emergency Order No. 1 (which we blogged about here), and subsequent Order No. 2, Metro has allowed curbside delivery and direct to consumer delivery of beer by holders of Metro Beer Board on-premise and on/off-premise beer permits.  On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the Metro Beer …

GOVENOR LEE ORDERS THE EXTENSION OF TENNESSEE’S STATE OF EMERGENCY IN EXECUTIVE ORDER 50

On June 29, 2020, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 50 extending the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to August 29, 2020. While this order is extended to all 95 counties in Tennessee, 6 counties, including Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Shelby, Madison, and Sullivan Counties have implemented their own protocols issued by …

NASHVILLE BACK TO PHASE 2: HOW TO OPERATE AS A BAR OR RESTAURANT IN MODIFIED PHASE 2

Due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Mayor John Cooper has decided to revert the city back to a modified Phase 2. For restaurants, this means more restrictive protocols will be in place until Nashville is able to move to the next phase of reopening. Unfortunately, bars must close for fourteen (14) days from …

FEDERAL ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO TAX AND TRADE BUREAU (TTB) EXTENDS BEER DESTRUCTION NOTICE WAIVER

See the below notice distributed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and Tennessee Brewer’s Guild which pertains to the regulatory requirements surrounding the destruction of beer.  Unfortunately, this is relevant for many manufacturers at this time.  An extension on the waiver of the requirement to notify the TTB of destruction of …