Tennessee May Enforce Law Against Infused Alcohol

Tennessee restaurant patrons may have to say "adios" to sangria.

According to News Channel 5 in Nashville, the new director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Keith Bell, will starting enforcing a 2006 law on July 1, interpreting that restaurants will not be able to infuse alcohol with food products. The law states that infusing alcohol with food can only be legally performed in distilleries. It also says that the alcohol served in restaurants must come from its original container, providing no time for establishments to craft mixtures. The law claims that violations could cause public health issues. The most popular losses will include infused vodka and whiskey and drinks like homemade limoncello and Sangria.

Will Cheek, a food and beverage law expert, also believes that this law enforcement will affect products like pre-mixed drinks, which can be stored for periods of time. "We're fighting this, and we're hoping the ABC will not enforce the law," he says.

California drinkers faced a similar issue in 2010 when the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) started enforcing a Prohibition-era law banning infused alcohol. This was overturned when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a Senate bill in 2011, legalizing alcohol infusions with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more in California bars and restaurants.