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Wholesale Laws for Tennessee

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Last Updated: March 26, 2020

Summary

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission is established by law as the licensing and regulatory body for all persons wishing to engage in the manufacturing, distilling, mixing, or selling of beverages containing certain percentages of alcohol. The commission consists of three members appointed by the governor.

Laws & Rules:

Supplier Licensing

Required:   Yes

Name:  Nonresident Liquor Seller’s Permit

Fee:  $150 – less than 100 cases, $250 – 100 cases or more

Expiration:  Dec. 31st of each year

A Non-Resident Seller Permit is required to ship wine into the state of Tennessee for distribution and/or resale. There is no additional application fee for Non-Resident Seller applications. Applications must be submitted online through the Regulatory Licensing and Permitting System (RLPS) portal. Paper applications are no longer accepted.

Resources:

Product Registration

Required:  Yes

Fee:  $0 – new brand, $0 -$250 – brand renewals

Approval:  2-3 weeks

Expiration:  May 31st of each year

Revision Required:  Tax Class, COLA change

An importer or manufacturer of alcoholic beverages or wine, must register and renew each brand with the Department of Revenue. The brand renewal rate is based on the actual number of cases sold during the previous year. Beginning in May 2019 brands can be registered and renewed online through the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point (TNTAP).

Beginning June 1, 2020, the Department will register both domestic and imported wine brands using the product’s brand name, as listed in Box 6 on the product’s Certificate of Label Approval (COLA).

Resources:

Franchise "Monopoly Protection" Law

Franchise Law:  Yes

Exclusive Territories:  Required

Please review the law in its entirety and consult legal counsel prior to taking any action.

A written agreement between the manufacturer/importer and the Tennessee wholesale distributor is required, and a copy of such agreement must be filed with the Department. No manufacturer or importer will be permitted to transfer a brand from one wholesale distributor to another or terminate a contract without written permission of the Commissioner.

Termination of a contract to distribute alcoholic beverages within Tennessee may only be allowed for good cause, asserted in good faith. The manufacturer or importer wishing to terminate a distribution contract must submit a written termination request to the Department stating the reason for termination. The affected wholesaler must be given a reasonable opportunity to cure any alleged deficiency.  The Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Revenue (the “Commissioner”) determines whether there is good cause, asserted in good faith.

The Department of Revenue has published a guide to help taxpayers better understand the process for terminating an alcoholic beverages distribution contract in Tennessee.

Citations:

Supplier Reporting Requirements

Required:  Yes

Name:  Invoice Report

Due Date:  Monthly, by the 15th

A non-resident seller selling distilled spirits or wines to licensed wholesalers in Tennessee shall, at the time such alcoholic beverages are invoiced to the wholesaler, send a duplicate invoice to the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, to which there shall be attached copies of all papers, exhibits, etc., as may be attached to the original invoice (TN Code 57-6-201). This requirement may also be satisfied by submitting a monthly invoice report.

Sales Representative Licensing

Available:  Yes

Fee:  $50

Expiration:  Dec. 31st of each year

A Supplier’s Representative Permit from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission allows a representative of any manufacturer, rectifier or importer to solicit orders from a licensed wholesaler in the State of Tennessee. An applicant for a Suppliers Representative Permit must be at least 18 years of age.

Resources:

Self-Distribution

Self-Distribution:  Prohibited

There are no statutory or regulatory provisions allowing an out-of-state winery to self-distribute.

Trade Practice Advisories

Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission
500 James Robertson Pkwy, 3rd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-1602
Fax: (615) 741-0847

Tennessee Department of Revenue
Andrew Jackson Building
500 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37242
Phone: (615) 741-7412
Fax: (615) 741-5319

 

Recent Compliance Alerts

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This information is intended for winegrower licensees only. All information above is provided as an informational aid and is not legal advice. Data may be out-of-date or incomplete. Please consult a lawyer before taking any action.