|Legal Opinion: |
Text of Document: January 9, 2009
Re: hours for beer sales when private club also holds liquor license
Dear City Manager,
You informed me that a private club, a local establishment, holds a beer permit from the City. They also obtained a liquor permit from the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, under the provisions permitting private clubs to receive such permits even when located in cities that have not approved liquor sales. Your question is whether or not the hours for liquor sales set by the ABC apply to the hours for beer sales. The answer is "yes," due to statutory language applied by our courts.
T.C.A. ' 57-5-301(b)(1) addresses hours for sale of beer, and states in the last line "the hours for sale of beer in "clubs" as defined in ' 57-4-102, shall conform to those hours for the sale of liquor by the drink as provided in chapter 4 of this title." The Supreme Court touched on this issue in a case involving another location, Amvets v. City of Jellico, 717 S.W.2d 878 (Tenn. 1986), a copy of which I have enclosed. The issue in that case is different from your question, but on page 4 the Court states "local regulations which may affect the hours for the sale of beer are not to be applied to the holders of state licenses." Beer may therefore be legally sold by the Amvets during the same hours liquor sales are authorized. As we discussed, once an establishment gets a liquor license a city distance requirement contained in the beer ordinance is difficult to enforce. It is also difficult to enforce other regulations against such license holders, unless criminal activity is involved.
I hope this information is helpful. It was good seeing you in class today!
Very Truly Yours,
Melissa A. Ashburn