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

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

June 24th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

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."