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Sep 4, 2015

We have heard from restaurant and bar owners in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville about what folks say is an ABC sting for sales to minors.  Several folks have described a sting where 3 or 4 ABC agents sit at a table and order food.  Folks over the age of 21 order alcoholic beverages, but an agent under the age of 21 does not try to order alcohol.

After the meal, the server presents the check and the under age cadet pays the tab.

The ABC charges the restaurant with a sale to minor because the meal, including alcoholic beverage, is paid for by the minor.

We have been in close communication with leadership at the ABC over the past several months.  In our humble opinion, the ABC would not engage in a sting like described above.  We have checked with a trusted source at the ABC, and the sting is not employed by ABC agents.

Clash's hit Police on My Back seems appropriate:

Yes, I'm running down the railway track
Could you help me? Police on my back
They will catch me if I dare drop back
Won't you give me all the speed I lack

We think license holders can beat a charge from a sting like the rumor mill describes.  SAC Melvin Brown and other law enforcement at the ABC certainly understand that they will loose these cases.  We chalk this alleged "sting" up to the rumor mill.

After our post, Jeff from Black Horse Pub in Clarksville commented about the unpredictable practices of local police.  Jeff notes:

I agree the abc may not execute that sting. But local municipalities playing the game are not under the same guidelines as the tabc. The Montgomery county sheriffs office just had a bunch of drug possession cases tossed because the deputies set up on I-24 and were stopping cars that just looked like they were packed for bonnaroo.  They actually stated that they were using "going to bonnaroo" as probable cause to stop the cars. Their dashboard cams showed them standing on the side of the interstate watching for cars with "hippies" in them and then jumping in their cars and chasing down kids cars.  You can never underestimate them. 

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