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News & Insights


September 19, 2019

Phone lines have been lighting up with the same question from bars, restaurants, hotels, and yes, even discos.

I think I’ve renewed my liquor license on time, but have not received anything from RLPS, the on-line filing system used by the Tennessee ABC.  Nary an e-mail and nothing shows in RLPS. Wassup?

Callers share a common refrain: “My license expires in a few days. I’m worried that I will have to stop selling liquor and the wholesalers won’t deliver.”

Folks are understandably concerned.  Most beer wholesalers, for example, refuse to deliver a single can of Bud if the restaurant or bar does not post a valid beer permit.

Our advice: Chill. If you have timely filed a complete ABC renewal, we seriously doubt the ABC will tell you to stop selling alcohol.

We qualify things with the lawyerly term “complete.”  Complete means:

  1. You have filed all required renewal documents with the ABC before your license expires
  2. You paid the renewal fee
  3. You have no outstanding citations, and
  4. Your establishment is in good standing with Revenue, meaning that you have filed all tax returns, paid all taxes and your bond is current.

We can’t help singing One of the Drunks by Panic at the Disco:

Never dry

Every day you’re thirsty, bourbon high

Sip up ‘til you’re tipsy, night’s young

If you are nervous about the approval of your renewal, your first step should be to make sure your renewal is “complete.”

The ABC prioritizes new applications and other more time-sensitive priorities. We do not fault the ABC for occasionally falling behind on renewals.

For anyone anxiously awaiting issuance of their liquor license – days before trying to open a new restaurant, bar or hotel – placing a priority on new applications makes sense.

Unfortunately, RLPS does not allow you to see the status of renewals. With new applications, you can check the processing status of the application to see if it has been assigned to a reviewer, for example. Without that option for renewals, you are in the dark.

We find ourselves wistfully wanton for a return to the golden era when you picked up the landline and called Melissa Proctor to make sure that everything was fine with your renewal.


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