published Monday, June 24th, 2013

Tennessee ABC head backs off on crackdown on ‘infusing’ to create alcoholic drinks

NASHVILLE — The head of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission has backed off for now on his planned July 1 crackdown on establishments found “infusing” fruit or herbs into alcohol drinks.

ABC Director Keith Bell’s move came following a meeting with Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Tennessee Hospitality Association members.

Restaurateurs had objected to Bell’s move, which he said was based on his interpretation of a 2006 state law.

Any number of bars and restaurants have turned to infusion

In an email, Bell defended the agency’s interpretation of the law, saying infused alcoholic beverages not for immediate consumption at bars and restaurants “remain violations of the Tennessee Code and TABC [commissionRules.”

But he said the ABC “has nevertheless determined it to be in the public interest that the regulatory enforcement of this prohibition be indefinitely suspended in order to formulate workable guidelines and definitions so as to gauge the growing and changing taste and desires of the consuming public.”

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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