Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Stops Illegal Shippers

Included in the state’s laws regarding alcohol sales in Tennessee is a special section regarding direct shipping. These vendors must meet the requirements for a Direct Shipper’s license and follow the state’s laws for the sale of alcohol including specific restrictions applicable to direct shipments. For example, sales may only be conducted with, and delivered to, those over 21. Click here for a full explanation of rules regarding Direct Shipping.

Over the last several months, the Law Enforcement Division of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has been running an investigation into Direct Shippers operating in Tennessee. Violators of state law were identified and contacted. After educating these companies regarding Tennessee rules and restrictions for direct shipping practices, the TABC was able to work with many vendors to bring them into compliance with Tennessee law.

However, in January of 2020, seven vendors were issued a cease and desist order for non-compliance. In February of 2020, another six were issued similar communications. One additional company, Benchmark Wine Group from Napa, California, had 240 separate direct shipping violations and has been unwilling to follow TABC instructions to become compliant. The TABC issued them a cease and desist order which they formally and officially refused to follow in a communication dated April 13, 2020. Last week, the TABC made a formal request to common carriers, FedEx and UPS, to refuse shipments into Tennessee from Benchmark Wine Group. “The TABC has worked with many businesses in recent months to assure compliance with our laws regarding
the shipment of alcohol. Most businesses have been very cooperative. Willful disregard of Tennessee alcohol laws will not be tolerated by the agency. We are going to continue to investigate and prosecute further violations,” said TABC Director, Russell Thomas. Click here to read the press release issued by the TABC on April 27, 2020, in regards to this company.

MADD Tennessee appreciates the dedication of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to protect Tennesseans, especially our youth, from vendors who do not abide by Tennessee laws for the responsible and legal sale of alcohol.