Tag Archives: restaurants

More on ABC’s Alcohol-Soaked Fruit Flap

A controversy over the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s move to ban restaurants from soaking fruits and the like in booze to create a mixed drink (previous post HERE) is getting more attention… and may be left for legislators to resolve.
From WPLN:
The issue centers on who’s allowed to make infusions–where an ingredient like fruit soaks in alcohol to flavor it, often for several days. Tennessee’s ABC says in looking back at a law from 2006, it found that in some cases, making infusions requires a distiller’s license, which restaurants can’t get.
In an email, the commission says despite what some people fear, the rule does not apply to drinks like margaritas or sangria. But Nashville lawyer Will Cheek warns restaurants that infuse liquors don’t want to risk having their license pulled.
“If you’ve got pineapple and fruit sitting in a vat of vodka, you need to be pulling that stuff out–it needs to be gone by July 1st.”
When the Tennessee Hospitality Association sent a letter arguing the commission is misinterpreting the rule, Cheek signed on, representing a couple major restaurant chains. If the commission won’t budge, Cheek says the matter could end up before state lawmakers next year.

And this excerpt from Cari Wade Gervin’s thorough review of the dispute, its history and ramifications:
Bell says he’d be fine with a law change–he says he’s encouraging people to look at newly passed legislation in Iowa that better regulates “Mixed Drinks or Cocktails Not For Immediate Consumption.” But according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division, that law requires pre-mixed batches of drinks to be disposed of within 72 hours if not consumed. Bars are also required to keep records–for three years–detailing when each and every batch is made and disposed of, along with the recipe, the ingredients, and the names of the person who made the batch and the person who disposed of it.
We asked Sohn if this seemed like a practical solution. She laughed loudly.
“Yeah, no,” Sohn says. “It would be very wasteful. … If they changed it to that, we probably still wouldn’t bother with infusions.”
Scanlan says he hopes TABC will reconsider its actions, but Bell doesn’t seem inclined to do so.
“I’m going to have to apply the law as it is right now,” Bell says. “I’m pretty certain we’ll start issuing citations sometime in the next few weeks.”


See also a Chattanooga Free Press editorial, opining that “the fun police are back, and this time they have their sights set on making sure that you won’t be able to sit back and enjoy a house-infused liquor at your favorite restaurant or neighborhood bar.”

ABC To Begin Enforcing 2006 Law Banning Pre-Mixed Drinks at Restaurants

A 2006 law that bans Tennessee restaurants from infusing alcohol with food products, even non-alcoholic beverages, will be enforced by the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission starting July 1, reports WKRN-TV.
The ban covers flavored liquor, such as infused whiskey, and pre-made mixed drinks, like margaritas.
In less than two weeks, each drink will have to be made to order when the ban by the Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) becomes effective.
The new head of the TABC, Keith Bell, plans to enforce the 2006 law. Only licensed distilleries will be able to perform the practice.
Restaurant owners like Josh Rew, who is opening a French bistro in a few weeks in Whites Creek, planned to have a produce-driven infusion cocktail on his menu. He said the new enforcement will set back Nashville’s cultural scene and could hurt his and other restaurant owners’ bottom line.
“If you are able to prep, then you can definitely get drinks out quicker. You can do higher volume, which means your profit margin goes up. People are happier, more word of mouth, and it definitely snow balls, but it could snowball in the other direction as well,” said Rew of the up and coming Chelsea Bistro.
The TABC cites health and safety concerns when restaurants infuse alcohol
.

And, from WPLN:
In an email, the commission says despite what some people fear, the rule does not apply to drinks like margaritas or sangria. But Nashville lawyer Will Cheek warns restaurants that infuse liquors don’t want to risk having their license pulled.
“If you’ve got pineapple and fruit sitting in a vat of vodka, you need to be pulling that stuff out–it needs to be gone by July 1st.”

Spelling TN Towns a Problem on Dept. of Heatlh Webzite

Restaurant inspectors have checked out places to eat in all kinds of colorful Tennessee towns, if the Tennessee Department of Health’s new website index for inspection scores is any indication, reports Mike Donila.
They’ve stopped by an O’Charley’s in Chzttanooga, a Dinner A’ Fare in Kinoxville, a cafeteria in Cornersvilel and a barbecue joint in Cumberland Furance. They dropped by a cafe in Decaterville, a McDonald’s in Dyerburg and a bar in Gereeneville.
They visited a spot in Ooltewahy, an arena in Oliverspirngs and the Old Mill in Pigion Forge. They also scrutinized a deli in Sewaee, a grill in Tazwell and a school in Vonroe.
Or perhaps someone just needs to use spell check.
A department spokeswoman offered a couple of explanations this week for the various spellings at http://dogwood.healthspace.com/tdh.
“We have a new vendor and they’re still trying to perfect the site. We’re still in the process of trying to get it where we want it,” said Andrea Turner, laughing slightly. “They apparently don’t have the familiarity with the names.”
A few minutes later, Turner called the News Sentinel back.
Apparently, she said, it’s restaurant inspectors – not the new Virginia-based vendor – who aren’t that familiar with the names.
“It’s actually our fault,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s one of those things we’re trying to address. It’s still not where we want it to be.”