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Nov 4, 2015

We are hearing from lots of folks that are confused about Tennessee ABC  infused cocktail policies.  The TABC has added a question to the liquor-by-the-drink application about infusing, which must be filled out by every license holder at renewal.

Question 15 asks: "Do you intend at any point during the next license year to produce, store, sell or offer for sale infusions as that term is defined in T.C.A. §57-4-108?"  The renewal application is here LBD Renewal.

Tennessee has special rules about infusions, which we blogged about here.  In our humble opinion, the Tennessee infusion law is not overly burdensome.  But the rules for what constitutes an infusion and the potential penalties for failing to comply create concern in the industry.

We blogged about the difference between pre-mixed cocktails and infusions and some common sense practices here.  Based on citations issued by agents, we strongly encourage that restaurants and bars follow our advice about pre-mixed cocktails.

We thank ABC Assistant Director Ginna Winfree for advocating for different treatment of pre-mixed cocktails and infusions.  Although the legal technicalities may make little sense to anyone other than lawyers, there is an important distinction.

Conjures up the classic Beastie Boys tune "Brass Monkey"

When it's time to get ill I pour it on my face

Monkey tastes def when you pour it on ice

Come on y'all it's time to get nice."

We find that many licensing professionals think they serve infusions, when in fact they only serve pre-mixed cocktails.  Our advice for answering Question 15 for restaurants and bars that serve pre-mixed cocktails is to answer "no, see attached" and disclose on the attachment that the restaurant has pre-mixed cocktails.  We also advise labeling pre-mixed cocktails as we describe here.

Given TABC patterns of enforcement and significant penalties, erring on the side of disclosure is a good thing.

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