What is the #1 Concern for Tennessee Restaurants and Bars? Survey says: Sales to Minors.

What is the #1 Concern for Tennessee Restaurants and Bars? Survey says: Sales to Minors.

Ask anyone that holds a liquor license in Tennessee.  What is your #1 concern?  Survey says: Sales to Minors.

As we see it, sales to minors has become headline news for three reasons:

1.  State law now requires the ABC and beer boards to notify each other of suspensions for sales to minors.  This results in 2 suspensions for the same sale, almost always at different times.

2. For the first time we can remember, the ABC is fully staffed.  The ABC has enough agents to be consistently active in the field.

3. The ABC began to suspend licenses.  In the past, the ABC fined restaurants and bars, but did not suspend licenses unless the license holder was not trying to effectively card.  This meant that a business that had good training, written policies about alcohol service, required servers to card and fired employees that failed to card, for example, got a fine for a second or third sale to minor.

No longer.  The ABC typically suspends a restaurant or bar liquor license for 14 days for a second sale to minor within three years.  Package stores get a little leniency, with a 10 day suspension that can be broken down to a one week suspension with the rest served over one day a week, for example.

We do not fault the ABC and beer boards for conducting compliance checks.  Sales to minors is a huge issue for the alcoholic beverage industry.

Supposedly clean crooner Neil Diamond sings a suggestive song that is inappropriately appropriate:

Girl, you'll be a woman soon
Please, come take my hand
Girl, you'll be a woman soon
Soon you'll need a man

We have a collision of good policy and the reality that sales to minors is not something easy to enforce.  Underaged drinking is a cultural phenomenon in the U.S.  Combined with the explosion in technology that makes forgery of IDs rampant, requiring bars to solve the problem of underaged drinking is unfair and unrealistic, in our humble opinion.


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