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Tennessee ABC Enforces Charitable Solicitation Laws for Nonprofit Liquor Licenses - New Rule Is a Huge Trap for Many Special Events

Sep 26, 2015

Nonprofits have seen a number of changes in recent months with the requirements for special occasion liquor licenses, which is the main way charitable events are licensed and the only way that donated alcohol can be served on premises.  Although a surprise to many nonprofits, the rules are manageable, if the event knows of the new rules early enough.

A new rule we discovered this month involves compliance with charitable solicitation laws.  Although not terribly burdensome, complying with charitable solicitations takes time.

Calls to mind "Sun City" by Artists United Against Apartheid, a multi-celebrity benefit song featuring Steven van Zandt, Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Springsteen, Lou Reed, Herbie Hancock, Bob Dylan, Peter Garrett, Run DMC and Joey Ramone:

We're rockers and rappers
United and strong
We're here to talk about South Africa
We don't like what's going on

Many nonprofits learn of the new ABC requirements days before the event, which is not enough time to register.  Among the requirements is a bond, which normally takes several days to process.

With all the changes, we strongly encourage nonprofits to focus on Tennessee liquor licensing well in advance of the event.  We are seeing too many well-intentioned fundraisers scrambling to comply with the new liquor laws.


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