How to Prevent a Citation for the Sale of Beer, Wine or Liquor to a Minor in Tennessee?

How to Prevent a Citation for the Sale of Beer, Wine or Liquor to a Minor in Tennessee?

Tennessee is tough on sales of alcoholic beverages to minors.

State law imposes strict liability. If your liquor store, restaurant or bar sells to a minor, for any reason, or a minor is caught with a drink, the ABC or beer board will hold the owner responsible. Even if someone 21 or over breaks the law and passes alcohol to a minor, for example.

Adding insult to injury, Tennessee license holders often get citations from both the ABC and the beer board for the same sale.

A classic 1965 hit song from Jonny Cash comes to mind:

I hear the train a comin'
It's rolling round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on

Careful carding is critical. Having a zero tolerance policy where employees know they will be fired if they sell to a minor, for any reason, seem to help.

Beer boards often suspend beer permits for a second or third sale to minors. The ABC may be changing its policy and also looking to suspensions for second or third sales.

Check back for updates about changes to ABC sanctions for sales to minors.

A client recently posed a good question about carding:

"If two young people walk up to the register and one can produce a valid ID over the age of 21, and the other one either does not have an ID or has an ID, but is under 21, what is the proper protocol per TABC?"

There really is no clear answer, but here is guidance on some fact scenarios.

If someone over 21 purchases alcohol with an ID, you have no obligation to card the friend.  If the friend puts the alcohol on the shelf or pays, you must card the friend.  Anyone involved in the purchase should be carded.

If someone attempts to purchase and is under 21, we advise not selling to his buddy that subsequently pulls out an ID showing he is over 21.  It is a crime for someone over 21 to purchase for someone under 21.

The facts really have to be examined, but this is good guidance.

Subscribe Now!

Recommended Content

Top of Page