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January 30, 2019

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission agenda has officially been published, but all eyes for this Thursday’s meeting at 10 a.m. will be focused on an item conspicuously absent:  Will the Commission name a new Director?

As federal employees headed back to work this week, the top two positions at the Tennessee ABC remain vacant.  We understand that the Commission has been quietly winnowing down a list of candidates for the Director’s position.  Although liquor gossip is usually insanely rampant, we have heard nothing about a likely successor to Clay Byrd.

We will be on the edge of our seats at the meeting tomorrow and certainly keep you posted.

Meanwhile, former Interim Director Zack Blair has assumed the role of Director of Legislation and Rules at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.  We have been remiss in not congratulating Mr. Blair for his fabulous new gig.  Mr. Blair departed the ABC in late December for what he describes as the perfect position for him to make a difference.

We will sorely miss Mr. Blair and wish him the best of continued success.

Mr. Blair’s legacy has national implications, now that he is the named defendant in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case that was recently heard for argument and is expected to be decided in June of this year.  If anyone would like to read more details about this fascinating dormant commerce clause argument, or is in need of a sure cure for insomnia, here is a link to the transcript of the Supreme Court hearing.

As always, please stay tuned for more details about leadership at the Tennessee ABC and the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair decision.

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