New Carryout Laws: What to Know About Adding a Margarita To-Go to Chips and Queso

The General Assembly has been very active this year passing new alcohol laws. During the pandemic, one of the biggest changes we all benefited from regarded alcohol carryout or curbside pick-up from restaurants. Great news for consumers, that practice is here to stay! Well, at least for the next two years. However, there are a few rules in place that we all need to know before trying to walk down Broadway with an open beer. Here are some highlights on new carryout laws from the TABC guidance on Pub. Ch. 241. 

Here’s the Scoop

First, restaurants are not allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages. That means stay away from Postmates or UberEats orders for drinks. If you want some drinks, you still must go and get them, even if the drinks are to-go. On the bright side, the law does allow for drive-thru or curbside pickup, so depending on the restaurant you can at least stay in the car. 

Next, food is a requirement to pick up alcohol. Specifically, the food needed to accompany alcohol must require some “preparation” or “cooking” on the restaurant premises. I’ve never had a better excuse to get chips with extra queso. 

This part might be the most important. Restaurants can only sell ONE 16oz serving of alcohol or a bottle of wine PER ORDER. Regardless of whether the order is a four-course meal for a family of five, or two people splitting some chips and queso (now I really want queso), both parties can only get ONE 16oz serving of alcohol or bottle of wine. Of course, a bottle of spirits cannot be sold. So please do not order or sell a 16oz pour of any liquor, just stick with a 16oz margarita to go with some delicious queso (I am not sorry if you are now hungry for queso). Containers must be secured with a sealed cap or tape over the lid; something that shows the product has not been tampered with once it’s been prepared. 

In Queso Some Restaurants Don’t Know…

On the more back-of-house side of things for new carryout laws, restaurants that offer curbside pickup or carryout MUST display a warning sign that reads “A driver shall not consume alcoholic beverages or beer while operating a motor vehicle in this state.” This sign must be posted in a place that people can easily read. Also, the servers that are responsible for selling the drink or handing the alcohol off to the consumer must have a Server Permit from the TABC. Sales must be conducted during normal business hours, LBD tax must be collected, and ID MUST be checked. Failure to check ID is the quickest way to get fined or even lose a license to operate. That fact will not change when the alcohol is ordered to-go. 

Finally, the TABC wants to know who is offering carryout orders with alcohol, so please notify the TABC by emailing Sean.J.Atkins@tn.gov if you plan on selling alcohol to-go. 

For any more info on the new carry-out laws, check out the TABC guidance here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/abc-documents/abc-documents/Alcohol-Carryout-Sales-Guidance-5-20-21.pdf

If you’re really nerdy, go read the new law here: https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/acts/112/pub/pc0451.pdf.

And if you love alcohol as much as us, and you REALLY want to keep track of all the new alcohol laws from introduction to effective date, check out this link: https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/subjectindex/BillsBySubject.aspx?Primarysubject=0110&GA=112

If you stopped reading and now you just want chips and queso. Go get some!

 

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