Articles

Last Wednesday, GSRM attorneys met with Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) staff to discuss several issues related to infusions and house-made bitters.

Bitters

The TABC has agreed to work with the industry to address concerns related to house-made bitters.  This process may take a few months to fully work out, but the TABC assured us at that meeting that they are not currently issuing citations or seizing house-made bitter products that are produced at liquor by the drink establishments as long as they are being produced roughly in accordance with the infusion regulations below.  The TABC has, however, re-categorized national bitters brands as alcoholic beverages that should be sold in liquor stores and distributed by wholesalers.  This means that Angostura, Bitterman’s, and other national brands must be purchased through your liquor wholesalers.   We stressed to the TABC that as of last week, the wholesalers were not carrying these bitters in enough quantity to serve the demand and that we believed that if the new re-categorization was to work, the wholesalers would need to ensure that product was available.

Infusions

We also discussed this year’s law allowing infusions at liquor by the drink establishments.  I have prepared the below summary for you to share with bartenders, managers, and other staff members in charge of infusions and house-made bitters programs.

Infusion Guidance

Any entity holding a license to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption may produce and sell infused beverages.

Infusion means – any product created from the combining or mixing of an alcoholic beverage with nonalcoholic products or material over a sustained period of time, and at the time of the combination or mixing, the combination or mixture is not intended for immediate consumption.

A licensee intending to produce infused beverages (or currently infusing) should notify TABC on its next renewal application.

All alcoholic beverages used in the production of an infusion must be purchased from a licensed wholesaler.

A batch of infused product must be:

  1. Infused, stored, and consumed on the licensed premises;
  2. Disposed of within two hundred forty (240) hours, (10 Days), after the infusion has been produced (this means at the time in which the infusion is completed and the product is served to the public); and
  3. Stored in a container labeled as follows that is compliant with state and federal food safety statutes, federal alcohol regulations, and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977.  This generally means a food safe container or bottle that will not be confused with a branded alcoholic beverage product.

A batch of infused product shall not:

  1. Contain any added stimulant, drug, or illegal substance; provided, “added stimulant”:
    • Means any stimulant used in the production of the infusion that is not naturally contained in any food product or beverage used in the production of the infusion; and
    • Includes, but is not limited to, caffeine, guarana, ginseng, and taurine and any product or beverage which includes stimulants that are not naturally included in the product or beverage, including, but not limited to, energy drinks;
  2. Be removed or transported from the licensed premises;
  3. Be infused in, stored in, or dispensed from an original package of liquor or wine, or a container bearing an alcoholic beverage name brand; or
  4. Be added to a relabeled empty container or another batch if the batch is expired.

A label shall be placed on each container that holds a batch of infused product that must legibly identify:

  • The date and time of infusion of the alcoholic beverages with nonalcoholic ingredients in the container;
  • The date and time the batch expires;
  • The recipe title and a description of the name and amount of each ingredient used in the infusion;
  • The size of the batch;
  • The name of the person who prepared the batch; and
  • Have the words “CONTAINS ALCOHOL” on the container.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this update, please do not hesitate to contact Matt Scanlan at 615.244.4994.

Contact Janet Summey at jsummey@gsrm.com to sign up for future issues of the GSRM Regulatory Update.