Tennessee Beer Laws in 2022 (Sunday Sales, Delivery, & Where To Buy)

With 50 states, there are at least 50 different laws surrounding the purchase and consumption of alcohol. What are Tennessee’s beer laws, and what should consumers know about buying beer in Tennessee? 

In Tennessee, you can buy bottles, cans, kegs, and draft beer from retail locations, bars, and restaurants every day of the week. Shops can sell beer from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sundays. Bars may sell beer from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. every day except Sunday, which is 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. 

Continue reading for a comprehensive look at Tennessee’s beer laws, as well as where you can buy beer and under what circumstances in Tennessee.

Is Tennessee a dry state?

A ‘dry’ area is one where alcohol is prohibited or greatly restricted. Tennessee is not a dry state. There are no dry states in the United States, meaning every state can sell alcohol.

While Tennessee the state is not dry, many counties do have some sort of restriction on alcohol sales or consumption. Some counties do not allow liquor by the drink, while others do not permit package sales.

An interesting thing to note: the sale of beer does not change a county’s designation from dry to wet in Tennessee! Many dry counties lawfully sell beer in convenience stores.

Does Tennessee have any dry counties?

While Tennessee is not a dry state, it does have a number of dry counties.

Out of 95 counties in Tennessee, fourteen are dry: 

  • Crockett County
  • Fentress County
  • Hancock County
  • Houston County
  • Johnson County
  • Lake County
  • Macon County
  • Mcnairy County
  • Meigs County
  • Morgan County
  • Pickett County
  • Rhea County
  • Stewart County
  • Union County

Even amongst these dry counties, some have ‘wet’ areas or municipalities in addition to allowing the sale of beer in convenience stores and gas stations. 

When can you buy beer in Tennessee?

There are a handful of restrictions around when you can buy beer in Tennessee.

The state of Tennessee allows for the sale of beer in retail centers Monday through Saturday from 8 am until 11 pm. Bars and restaurants may continue to sell beer until 3 am. No beer can be sold before 10 am on Sunday, or on Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

Given its patchwork of county-by-county laws, the information provided below accounts for what the state allows; counties may have their own restrictions.

Can you buy beer on Sunday in Tennessee?

Beer can be purchased on Sundays in Tennessee.

On Sundays in Tennessee, retail locations (such as grocery stores or package stores) may sell beer between 10 am and 11 pm, while bars and restaurants may serve beer between 10 am and 3 am. 

Beer cannot be purchased on Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. 

Monday through Saturday, beer can be purchased 8 am through 11 pm in retail locations and 8 am to 3 am from bars and restaurants.

When do bars close in Tennessee?

When drinking in Tennessee, when should you expect the bars to close down?

In Tennessee, bars are legally required to close at 3 am every day, although some choose to close around 2 am, while many that are connected to restaurants close before midnight.

Only restaurants that do not sell alcohol can stay open 24 hours.

Where can you buy beer in Tennessee?

Given that there are so many dry counties in Tennesee, where can you buy beer?

There are several places you can buy beer in Tennessee, including: 

  • Bars and restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Package and liquor stores
  • Breweries and taprooms

Continue reading for more information on purchasing beer from each of these locations.

Take note: many counties have their own restrictions in place. Since selling beer doesn’t change the ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ designation of a county, it is sold in most places.

Bars and restaurants

In Tennessee, bars and restaurants are legally allowed to sell beer between the hours of 8 am to 3 am Monday through Saturday and 10 am to 3 am on Sunday.

It is prohibited for businesses to give out free drinks, including beer. 

Bars and restaurants will often have beer on tap as well as cans and bottles. Currently, patrons can purchase up to 16oz of beer to-go as long as they are also buying food.

Gas stations

In Tennessee, you can buy packaged beer from gas stations between 8 am and 11 pm Monday through Saturday and 10 am through 11 pm on Sundays. 

Beer cannot be purchased on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Grocery stores

In Tennessee, grocery stores may sell packaged beer from 8 am to 11 pm Mondays through Saturdays and 10 am through 11 pm on Sundays.

They are prohibited from selling beer on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Package and liquor stores

In Tennessee, package and liquor stores may sell bottles, cans, kegs, and growlers of beer from 8am to 11 pm Monday through Saturday and 10 am to 11 pm on Sunday.

They may not open for business on Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter.

Breweries and taprooms

Breweries and taprooms in Tennessee may sell bottles, cans, kegs, and growlers of beer between the hours of 8 am to 3 am Monday through Saturday and 10 am to 3 am on Sunday.

However, many close before midnight. 

Can you get beer delivered in Tennessee?

Beer can be delivered by retail stores in Tennessee under certain rules as detailed by the Tennessee ABC Board.

Laws for the delivery of alcohol in Tennessee include:

  • The delivery must be made to only the physical address indicated by the individual placing the order.
  • The delivery must be documented by a verification of delivery, signed by the order recipient.
  • The order and delivery of alcoholic beverages must occur only during authorized hours of sale.
  • The ID of the recipient must be checked to ensure they are over 21.
  • Services like Drizly or Minibar, which solely deliver alcohol, are permitted.

What is the minimum drinking age in Tennessee?

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. While some states make exceptions for 18-20 year-olds at home under the supervision of a parent or of-age spouse, Tennessee is not one of them.

The minimum drinking age in Tennessee is 21.

Anyone selling alcohol is required by law to check the ID of any person who does not reasonably appear to be 50 years old or older at the time of purchase. The identification must be a valid (unexpired), government-issued photo ID, which could be a passport, a driver’s license, or an ID card.

Selling alcohol to a minor or failing to verify identification is a Class A misdemeanor under Tennessee law.

Can minors drink beer in Tennessee with parents?

While some states allow minors to drink alcohol with their parents, minors may not drink beer in Tennessee with their parents. The minimum drinking age in Tennessee is 21 with no exceptions. 

Furnishing a minor with alcohol, even if they are related to you, is a Class A misdemeanor.

Drinking laws in Tennessee

As a state, Tennessee has fairly straightforward laws around drinking. County by county, however, regulations vary.

In almost every county, beer is permissible for sale and consumption without changing the county’s designation from ‘dry’ to ‘wet.’ 

Tennessee used to cap beer at 6.2% ABV but a new law in 2017 allows breweries to make beer up to 10.1% ABV. Previously, breweries that wanted to make a high gravity beer (which was anything above 6.2%) had to obtain an expensive liquor license.

Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Tennessee?

Growlers are a great way for breweries to provide specialty, seasonal, or small-batch beers directly to the consumer.

You can purchase growlers from a variety of sources in Tennessee, such as breweries, retail stores, bars and restaurants, and even specialty growler-filling stations in certain areas.

Check out this site for a partial list of growler fill stations in select areas of Tennessee. 

Open container

In Tennessee, a driver may not be in possession of an open container unless it is in the trunk or a closed glove compartment.

However, a passenger who is 21 or older in the driver’s car is permitted to possess and consume an open container of alcohol without penalty. 

A violation of the open container law is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. 

Driving

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Tennessee.

The blood alcohol limit (BAC) may not exceed 0.08% without penalty.

Under 21 years old

Anyone caught drinking and driving under the age of 21 is subject to a fine of between $50 and $500 and subject to community service or a jail sentence of no more than 30 days. BAC level may be no more than 0.02%.

A person under 18 convicted of drinking and driving can expect the following punishments: 

  • Driver license suspension of one (1) year
  • A fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250)
  • Public service work, at the discretion of the court

A person over 18 but less than 21 convicted of drinking and driving will be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor and can expect the following consequences:

  • Driver license suspension of one (1) year
  • A fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250)
  • Public service work, at the discretion of the court

21 years and older

For drivers 21 years and older convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), first offense punishments include: 

  • Prohibition from driving a vehicle for 1 year 
  • Payment of a fine between $350 and $1500
  • A jail sentence of not less than 48 consecutive hours but no more than 11 months and 29 days
  • Other penalties depending on whether a minor was involved, severity of drunkenness, and other factors determined by the court

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06/09/2022 12:25 pm GMT