Liquor Legislation to Watch

As the Tennessee General Assembly kicked off its 111th session the week of January 13, Schaffer Law Firm will be closely monitoring any and all laws introduced that affect the food & beverage industry. We will be coming to you weekly with newly introduced legislation to watch as well as updates on previous weeks bill introductions.

January 24, 2020


Introduced January 16, 2020, this proposed House Bill would prohibit a local beer board from imposing a fine or penalty on a licensee based solely on the fact that the alcoholic beverage commission imposed a fine or penalty. HB1645 also authorizes local governments to set the amount of the application fee for a beer permit and the privilege tax on beer. HB1645 amends the Tennessee Code Annotated Title 57.
January 24, 2020


Assigned to Cities and Counties Subcommittee on January 23, 2020


Introduced January 21, 2020, this proposed House Bill would remove the residency requirements for any person applying for a retail license. HB1799 amends Tennessee Code Annotated § 57-3-204. On January 23, 2020 this House Bill was assigned to the Departments & Agencies Subcommittee.


Introduced February 5, 2019, this proposed bill would increase from 18% by volume to 24% by volume the alcohol content of wine that can be sold in grocery stores. This bill would change the definition of wine for purposes of sales in grocery stores so that wine includes alcohol derived from wine that has added flavorings and additives. This bill was placed in Senate State and Local Government Committee on April 9, 2019. On January 22, 2020 it was placed in the same committee again.


This bill will be one to watch! Introduced February 5, 2019 this bill would redefine “beer” such that the sale, distribution and manufacture of beer with an alcoholic content of 18% by volume or less is regulated by counties and of greater than 18% by volume is regulated by the alcoholic beverage commission. This would increase the jurisdiction of local beer boards that currently regulate beer that is 10.1% by volume. This could really open up what breweries will be able to brew if this passes! The last activity on this bill was in March 2019.

January 31, 2020


Activity on the bill to allow wine up to 24% by volume to be sold in grocery stores. The Senate Bill 0994 was assigned to the General Subcommittee of Senate State and Local Government on January 28, 2020.

NEW SB2012/HB2087

Introduced January 30, 2020, this bill would remove the limit on the number of retail stores a person may own. Currently, an individual is only permitted to own interest in one (1) retail package liquor store in TN. This one is also going to be one to watch!

February 7, 2020

Not much action this week on previously introduced bills. HB2087 moved to Departments & Agencies subcommittee on February 5, 2020. However, lots of new activity to report on!


Introduced February 5, 2020, this bill prohibits retail licensee from seving samples for tasting to anyone who is visibly intoxicated. 


Introduced February 5, 2020. Allows a manufacturer to sell product transferred between different sites owned by the same manufacturer upon certain conditions. This appears to apply for distilleries and wineries only at the moment but beer may not be far behind!


As introduced, makes changes related to a caterer’s license for purposes of consumption on the premises; restricts the number of undercover investigations the alcoholic beverage commission can perform on a single licensee in a year; requires a server permit for a doorperson employed at an establishment that sells liquor-by-the-drink; makes certain other alcohol sales revisions.

We believe this will potentially open the door for food trucks, tourist vehicles and pedal taverns to serve alcohol for patrons to purchase. This is HUGE!


As introduced, requires persons applying for a manufacturer or distiller license to provide commission with names and percentage of ownership of any person having more than 10 percent interest in the manufacturer or distiller.


As introduced, prohibits a local beer board from imposing a fine or penalty on a licensee based solely on the fact that the alcoholic beverage commission imposed a fine or penalty; authorizes local governments to set the amount of the application fee for a beer permit and the privilege tax on beer.

February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day! Lots of activity on the nine different house and senate bills we are watching.  The Senate bills were passed on eight of the nine bills we are watching and the House bills were assigned to subcommittees on the same eight. The only Senate/House bill we have no activity on is SB0994/HB0971 increasing “beer” to 18%. If this is something you want to move along with, call your local representative!

February 21, 2020

Looks like all House and Senate bills are making their way through their assigned subcommittees but nothing has been enacted as law quite yet. Still no activity on SB0994/HB0971. I fear this one may die in subcommittee.

March 6, 2020

All House and Senate bills are continuing through subcommittees. It is unclear whether Tuesday’s storm or coronavirus fears will affect the legislative process.

March 13, 2020

Happy Friday the 13th! Coronavirus does not appear to be delaying the legislature. We had action on all House and Senate bills moving through committees. Nothing has passed into law yet, but HB1799 removing the residency requirement to own a liquor store is set for Senate Consent on 3/16/2020.


Get In touch and

Let's Get Going!


1604 16th Ave. S
Nashville, TN 37212


The use of this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential information should not be sent through this form.