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Comparing Tennessee’s liquor laws to those of neighboring states


Comparing Tennessee’s liquor laws to those of neighboring states

Compiled by CATHERINE AHN

No two states are alike when it comes to liquor laws, and most are changing from year to year.

Tennessee’s wine in grocery stores law puts it in line with neighboring states.

Tennessee

Bar closing time: Mon-Sat 8 a.m. – 3 a.m.; Sunday Noon – 3 a.m.

Beer: Grocery Stores (Beer over 6.3% ABV must be sold in liquor stores)

Wine: Liquor Stores & Grocery Stores

Liquor: Liquor Stores

Sunday Restrictions: No off-premise sales of hard liquor

Off-Premise Sale Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday: Only beer (not wine or liquor) can be sold.

  • Wine sales in Tennessee retail food stores began at 8 a.m. on July 1, 2016.
  • Sales are allowed Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. No wine sales are allowed on Sundays, although beer sales are.
  • No sales are allowed on five holidays: New Year’s Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Buyers must be at least 21 years old and store clerks selling must be at least 18.
  • The state agency regulating grocery store wine sales is the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Official Tennessee alcohol laws: http://www.state.tn.us/sos/rules/0100/0100.htm

Kentucky

Bar closing time: 2 a.m. (4 a.m. in Louisville)

Beer: Grocery stores

Wine: Pharmacies. Wine and liquor may be sold by grocery stores, but only through a separate entrance to that part of the store.

Liquor: Liquor stores. Wine and liquor may be sold by grocery stores, but only through a separate entrance to that part of the store.

(NOTE: 39 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are dry).

Sunday Restrictions: As of 2005 Sunday sales were allowed per state law, but may still be prohibited in some areas by local ordinance

Off-Premise Sale Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Sundays

Additional Notes: Beginning in 2013 Liquor by the drink and beer by the drink are available on Sundays in Louisville, KY beginning at 10 a.m. Bowling Green, KY recently began allowing Sunday sales in December 2013 for carry-out beer, wine, and liquor. Prohibition on liquor sales on Election Day was repealed effective June 24, 2013. Kentucky was one of only two states to still have Election Day prohibition, the other being South Carolina.

Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control: http://abc.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Missouri

One of the most alcohol-permissive states

Bar closing time: Most establishments (Mon-Sat) 6 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.

(Sunday) 9 a.m. – midnight

Special licenses in Kansas City and St. Louis: (Daily) 6 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Beer: Grocery stores
Wine: Grocery stores
Liquor: Grocery stores
Sunday restrictions? None
Off-Premise Sale Hours: Monday to Saturday: 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. to midnight

(Sales permitted until 3 a.m. in those Kansas City and St. Louis bars grandfathered into the ability to double as liquor stores)

Additional Notes: Missouri has a law allowing parents to responsibly provide alcohol for their children. There is no prohibition of consumption by minors, though purchase, possession and intoxication by minors is illegal.(Missouri state law 311.310.2)

No open container law
No state public intoxication law.
Liquor control law covers all beverages containing more than 0.5% alcohol, without further particularities based on percentage.
Cities and counties are prohibited from banning off-premises alcohol sales.
No dry jurisdictions.
State preemption of local alcohol laws which do not follow state law.
Certain bars in Kansas City and St. Louis grandfathered into the ability to double as liquor stores.
Special licenses available for bars and nightclubs which allow selling alcohol until 3 a.m. in Kansas City, Jackson County, North Kansas City, St. Louis, and St. Louis County.
Grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations may sell liquor without limitation other than hours.
Patrons allowed to take open containers out of bars in Kansas City’s Power & Light District.
Parents and guardians may furnish alcohol to their children.
Missourians over 21 may manufacture up to 100 gallons of any liquor per year for personal use, without any further state limitation, state taxation, or state license. (Obtaining a permit from the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and meeting other requirements under federal law probably still is required for private citizens to manufacture distilled alcohol – but not wine or beer – for personal use)

Official Missouri alcohol laws: http://atc.dps.mo.gov/documents/chapter-311-statutes-11-24-14.pdf

Arkansas

Bar closing time: 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. (On-premise sale is rather complicated with Class A private clubs being able to serve 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., Class B 10 a.m. to 5 a.m., and restaurants 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.)
Beer: Grocery stores

Wine: Liquor stores ***Arkansas wine can be sold at grocery stores.
Liquor: Liquor stores

Sunday restrictions? County dependent
Off-Premise Sale Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (only until Midnight on Saturdays)

Sunday: Some cities allow off-premise sales on Sunday. Distribution is not state-controlled.
Additional notes: Half of Arkansas’s counties are dry, but private clubs are exempt from this. Christmas Day sales are prohibited. Alcohol sales are generally prohibited on Sundays, but exceptions can be made through local option (usually for restaurants and private clubs).
Official Arkansas alcohol laws: http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/abc/Pages/default.aspx

 

North Carolina

Bar closing time: 7 a.m. – 2 a.m. (Mon – Sat) Noon – 2 a.m. (Sun)
Beer:
Grocery stores
Wine:
Grocery stores
Liquor:
State-run stores
Sunday restrictions?
State-run liquor stores closed, Beer/wine not sold until noon
Off-Premise Sale Hours:

Beer and wine: 7 a.m. – 2 a.m. (Mon – Sat)

Noon – 2 a.m. (Sun)

Liquor: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Mon – Sat)
State-Run Liquor Store Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (vary) Sunday: Closed

Additional notes: In North Carolina, happy hours are against the law

15% ABV cap on beer, 16% cap on unfortified wine, 24% cap on fortified wine.

Official North Carolina alcohol laws: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0018B

 

Georgia

Bar closing time: 2 a.m. (2:30 a.m. in Atlanta) Hours of sale determined by local jurisdiction

Beer: Grocery stores
Wine: Grocery stores
Liquor : Liquor stores
Sunday restrictions? Bars and stores cannot sell alcohol until 12:30 p.m. Allowed only by local referendum.
Off-Premise Sale Hours: Off-premise sales times are determined at the county level, not state.
Additional notes: The sale of alcohol on Sundays was not allowed in Georgia until 2011. In a statewide election, each county voted whether to end the Sunday ban. 105 of the 159 counties chose to repeal the law.

Beer with ABV above 14% is illegal. In certain areas public consumption is legal, but has the following limitations: One drink on street, size no more than 16 oz, drinking from a can, bottle or glass is prohibited. Most municipal corporations and political subdivisions limit the possession of open containers of alcohol to private property, with the exception of Savannah and Roswell.
Official Georgia alcohol laws: http://www.lexis-nexis.com/hottopics/gacode/Default.asp

Virginia

Bar closing time: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m. (No restriction for licensed clubs)

Beer: Grocery stores

Wine: Grocery stores

Liquor: State-run stores (Liquor and wine > 14% ABV can only be sold in state liquor stores)

Sunday Restrictions? None (Sunday sale is prohibited in some counties)

Off-Premise Sale Hours: Sunday to Saturday: 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. except local Blue Law.

State-Run Liquor Store Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional Notes: Virginia bars must make at least 45% of their revenue from food sales. Therefore there are no strict “bars” in the traditional sense – every establishment is a bar/restaurant.

Licensed supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations may sell beer and wine. Off-premises sales no later than 12 midnight. Liquor stores are owned and operated by the Commonwealth and are generally open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Official Virginia alcohol laws: https://www.abc.virginia.gov/enforcement/virginia-codes-and-regulations


Alabama

Bar closing time: 2 a.m.

Beer: Grocery stores (13.9% ABV cap on beer. Beer containers may not exceed 25.4 ounces)
Wine:
Grocery stores (ABV > 14.9% wine sold in state stores)
Liquor: State-run stores (Liquor may also be sold in state-licensed “package stores”)
Sunday restrictions? State-run stores closed. Prohibited between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Sundays in some counties. Private clubs, which require a membership fee and a membership card, have no day or time restrictions.
Off-Premise Sale Hours:
Sunday to Saturday: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.
State-Run Liquor Store Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday: Closed

Additional Notes: 26 of Alabama’s 67 counties do not allow the sale of alcohol, though possession and consumption remains legal. Of the 26 “dry” counties, 23 have at least one “wet” city; these are considered “moist” dry counties. Within those 23 counties there are 43 wet cities. State law allows any city with a population greater than 1,000 located within a dry county to “go wet” if a referendum is passed by 50% of voters. State retains monopoly over wholesaling of distilled spirits only.

Homebrewing beer became legal in all 50 states in 2013 as the governor of Mississippi signed a bill legalizing homebrewing on March 19, 2013 and as the governor of Alabama signed a bill legalizing homebrewing of beer and wine which came into effect on May 9, 2013.

*Official Alabama alcohol laws: http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/21502.htm

Mississippi

Bar closing time: 2 a.m. (Mississippi bars may operate from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., but times vary from county to county. A complete list: https://www.dor.ms.gov/abc/abchoursofsale.html)
Beer: Grocery stores
Wine: Grocery & Liquor stores (ABW > 5% Wine can only be sold in state controlled stores.)
Liquor : Liquor stores
Sunday restrictions? Liquor stores closed
Off-Premise Sale Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday: No sales

Statewide State-Contracted Stores: 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. (Closed Sundays)
Additional notes: Spirits distribution is controlled by the state. Almost half of Mississippi’s counties are dry; A complete map

Beer and light wine (ABW < 5%, ABV < ~6.3%) may be consumed by persons age 18-20 with parental supervision. Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill permitting beer with 8% ABW/10% ABV on April 9, 2012. The bill went into effect on July 1, 2012

No state open container laws. Free alcohol all day and night in coastal casinos.

Sale is prohibited on Christmas day. In most counties Sunday sales are prohibited. Homebrewing beer became legal in all 50 states in 2013 as the governor of Mississippi signed a bill legalizing homebrewing on March 19, 2013 and as the governor of Alabama signed a bill legalizing homebrewing of beer and wine which came into effect on May 9, 2013. The Mississippi bill went into effect July 1, 2013.
Official Mississippi alcohol laws: https://www.dor.ms.gov/docs/PartIIeffective8.30.2013.pdf

  • ALCOHOL REGULATION VOCABULARY
  • Dry — All sales of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Wet — Sales of alcoholic beverages for on-site or off-site consumption are allowed in at least some areas outside of an incorporated city. However, many “wet” counties have dry precincts. For example, Kentucky’s two consolidated city-county governments, Louisville and Lexington, are both wet, although a few precincts in Louisville are dry.
  • Moist — The ABC uses this term strictly to refer to otherwise dry counties where one or more specific cities have voted to allow alcohol sales for off-premises consumption.
  • Limited — A county in which at least some otherwise dry territory has approved the sale of alcohol by the drink at qualifying restaurants. Under this category, the ABC has secondary classifications of “Limited (100)” and “Limited (50)”, with the numbers referring to the seating capacity required for a restaurant to apply for a license.
  • ABV — Alcohol by volume (abbreviated as ABV, abv, or alc/vol) is a standard measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage (expressed as a volume percent).
  • ABW — Alcohol by Weight (ABW) is a measure of how much alcohol is in a beverage, expressed as a percentage of the total beverage weight. The US often quotes alcohol values by weight (not volume) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) uses the weight measurement.

Primary Sources:

http://www.stateliquorlaws.com

http://www.legalbeer.com/liquor-laws-by-state

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_the_United_States

[1]^ Locker, Richard. “Hundreds of Tennessee Stores Approved for July 1 Wine Sales.” The Commercial Appeal. USA Today Network, 20 June 2016. Web. 28 June 2016.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/government/state/state-alcohol-board-nearly-finished-granting-approvals-for-july-1-wine-sales-35b80105-cf7e-5b4a-e053-383639251.html

[2]^ Brammer, Jack (August 10, 2012). “Want to buy or sell an alcoholic drink in Kentucky? That’ll depend on where you are”. Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved August 24, 2012.

(Wikipedia)

[3]^ “Wet & Dry Counties in Kentucky as of 01/03/13” (PDF). Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Retrieved January 25, 2013.

(Wikipedia)

[4] Scheller, Alissa. “Here Are The Rules To Buying Alcohol In Each State’s Grocery Stores.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 Aug. 2014. Web. 28 June 2016.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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