Pay the Tax Man Or Go Straight To Jail

By - June 30, 2011 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

Liquor-by-the-drink licensees feel the double whammy pain of 15% liquor taxes and 9%+ sales taxes every month when taxes come due. For some, the temptation not to honestly report sales is tempting.

Recent Tennessee Department of Revenue activity is a reminder that paying taxes is a priority. Failure to pay the tax man is a crime.

Anthony Campbell, owner of Tony’s Bar & Grill in Memphis, Tennessee, learned the hard way. Campbell was sentenced to one count of Sales Tax Fraud, a Class E felony, and one count of Theft of Property Over $10,000, a Class C felony. Campbell was placed on five years of probation and was ordered to pay full restitution to the Tennessee Department of Revenue in the amount of $15,860.19.

This disqualifies Campbell from owning or working in the liquor industry.

Likewise William (Curtis) Givens, Jr., an employee of Silver Spoon Restaurant & Lounge in Memphis pled guilty to one count of falsifying tax returns, a Class E felony, and one count of Theft of Property Over $10,000, a Class C felony. Givens was ordered to pay $37,517.86 and faces 5 years in jail if he fails to follow his sentence, which includes educating business owners about the consequences of violating state sales tax laws.

Don’t mess with the tax man.

NCSLA Liquor Conference Vegas Style

By - June 27, 2011 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

Last week, the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators seized the Wynn Encore Hotel in Vegas for the 2011 Annual Conference. Tennessee made waves on a number of fronts.

TABC Director Danielle Elks served as President of NCSLA and also chaired the host committee that planned the program and social agenda. Here is Director Elks at the podium on closing night with a Charlie Daniels autographed violin auctioned for the benefit of NCSLA.

We served on the NCSLA planning committee and worked with a small talented group that created a stellar program. Great American Success Stories featured Jim Koch,  founder of Boston Beer, Richard Sands, CEO of Constellation Brands and John McDonnel of Patrón Spirits.  Jim poured a Sam Adams for his speech and was a personal favorite.

Tennessee’s retail package store tasting law was too new to make the program, but was a popular topic at the hospitality lounge.  We are not sure if retail tastings, or the lack of rules governing tastings, created the interest, but industry members – and regulators – were definitely inquiring.

Last but not least, we moderated a panel on growlers and wine kegs. Featuring Master Brewer Kevin Reed of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries and growler compliance expert Alex Heckathorn, we covered cutting edge issues presented by the popular demand for growlers.

Check out photos from the conference.

Tennessee Governor Haslam Signs High Alc Brewery and Retail Liquor Store Tastings Law

By - June 13, 2011 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

Governor Haslam has signed the high alc brewery and retail liquor store bill into law. It is official. As of Friday June 10, 2011, brewing high alc beer is truly legit in Tennessee, and retail stores can offer tastings at the store. Huge changes to Tennessee law.

Read more about high alc beer brewing.

Read more about retail store tastings.

Coyote Ugly Vindicated: Coyotes Approved to Advertise at Nashville CMA Fest

By - June 10, 2011 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

CMA Fest fans swarmed downtown Nashville much like the cicadas in May. Unlike the red-eyed bugs, CMA festival goers are looking to spend money, and competition among downtown Nashville bars is intense.

This Thursday, the first big day of the fest, Coyote Ugly Coyotes were asked to stop promoting the Saloon to festival goers on lower Broad. Police were polite but firm: no handouts in the main festival area on lower Broad.

Coyote Ugly contacted us Thursday afternoon to see if there was a way to legally advertise to the thousands of festival goers on lower Broad. Based on fliers distributed earlier in the day, scores of fans were taking advantage of the promotions handed out by Coyotes.

Metro police responded well. Police allowed Coyotes to hand out leaflets Thursday night and Friday, while Metro considered the legal issues.

Late Friday afternoon, Police Chief Anderson sent advice to Metro Police. Handing out leaflets is ok. Selling on the streets without a license is not.

Vindicated, the Coyotes are braving the heat and crowds to drum up business at the Fest. We appreciate Metro’s attention to this issue and thank Police Chief Anderson, Metro Law Director Sue Cain and their staff.