WIGS Has Unsung Silver Lining for Tennessee Retail Package Stores

By - December 18, 2014 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

The recently minted Tennessee law that legalizes wine in grocery stores (which we affectionately call WIGS) gives retail package store owners new rights in exchange for having to compete against goliath grocery stores for wine sales.

Many liquor stores have been focusing on the newly vested rights to sell beer, glassware, gourmet cheese and other items under WIGS.  Scores of stores have obtained approval from the ABC to merge liquor stores with adjacent beer stores.

A lesser known provision of WIGS eliminates the long-standing prohibition preventing liquor store owners from owning restaurants and bars.  Before WIGS, the ABC aggressively investigated and enforced any accusation of ownership by a retail liquor store owner in a restaurant or bar.  It was completely taboo.

WIGS is not entirely clear, but as we read the section, a retail liquor store owner can also partially or wholly own one or more restaurants or bars. Here is the provision:

Notwithstanding any other provision in title 57 or any rule to the contrary, an individual or corporation may hold a retail license issued pursuant to § 57-3-204 and may also hold a license to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises pursuant to title 57, chapter 4; provided, however, that each license must be operated as a separate and distinct business and shall not be at the same location.

 Reminds us of the shortest Beatles song, Her Majesty, from Abbey Road:

“I wanna tell her that I love her a lot,
but I gotta get a belly full of wine –
Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl;
some day I’m gonna make her mine – oh yeah.”

We see WIGS as a first step toward removing unnecessary government restrictions from the liquor industry.  We encourage liquor entrepreneurs to exploit the changes for better business and profits..

Fake Tennessee IDs Targeted by Tennessee ABC

By - December 06, 2014 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

An investigation by Nashville Channel 4 WSMV reporter Jeremy Finley about the proliferation of fake IDs used to purchase alcohol has grabbed the attention of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.  WSMV informants were able to obtain identification cards without any background check or other verification of identity and purchase alcohol using the fake IDs.

According to WSMV, the ID is complete with date of birth, address and photo, along with a hologram across the card. All of the information provided by the WSMV informant was false.  According to WSMV, the 22-year-old was able to purchase alcohol in two different locations.

WSMV asked the ABC if they consider the ID a fake ID.

“This is a fake ID. Because anybody could make that,” Tennessee ABC Assistant Director Ginna Winfree said.

Now, the businesses that sold the 22-year-old the alcohol could be in trouble with the state.

“Based on this, they’re (the businesses) definitely committing a crime,” Winfree said.

Sabrina Jacal, the owner of Servicio Internacional, the company selling the IDs, said she doesn’t have to have state approval to make the IDs.  “I’m not authorized to do anything. It’s not an authorization that needs to be given,” Jacal said.  Jacal said she’s not selling fake IDs, but instead IDs that also serve as membership cards for translation services.

Read more: http://www.wsmv.com/story/27482848/state-agency-launches-investigation-into-businesses-accepting-ids#ixzz3L5NfXJFD

A particularly politically incorrect Ted Nugget song comes to mind:

Well, I don’t care if you’re just 13
You look too good to be true
I just know that you’re probably clean…
Jailbait you look fine, fine, fine…

Shameless Self Promotion About Tennessee WIGS

By - December 01, 2014 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

If you are a Tennessee attorney looking for easy CLE, you may want to join us with a “Liquor Law Update: WIGS, High Gravity Beer…And Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm.”

Tomorrow December 2, 2014, and on line afterwards, Red White and Food advocate Emily Ogden and I will discuss the Wine In Grocery Store law and other major 2014 revisions to Tennessee liquor law.  Course info is here.

Here is what we will cover:

New 2014 Tennessee liquor laws dramatically changed the liquor business in Tennessee. Wine in Grocery Stores (which we affectionately call “WIGS”) not only legalized the sale of wine in Kroger, WIGS gave retail liquor stores the right to sell beer and a host of other goods beginning July 1, 2014. The WIGS compromise requires the voters of each city or county to petition to have a local referendum election to approve of WIGS in the city or county. If WIGS is approved by local option election, grocery stores cannot begin selling wine until July 1, 2016.

WIGS was a true compromise that disappointed all industry members. As a hard-negotiated compromise, WIGS is full of provisions that make little sense from a business perspective.

Related legislation modernized the definition of beer to allow higher proof beers to be sold alongside Yazoo Dos Perros and Miller Lite beginning January 1, 2017. Current Tennessee law limits the alcoholic content of beer to 5% by weight.

2014 laws also legalized wineries to open a second retail store and have a restaurant. This allows wineries like Arrington Vineyards to open a restaurant at the winery and sell Arrington wines by the glass, as well as other alcoholic beverages. The new law enables City Winery in Nashville to make wine and have a restaurant concert venue, like the company does in New York and Chicago.

Learn this and much more in this one-hour session.