Tennessee Code Title 57. Intoxicating Liquors § 57-3-203

(a) Any person, or general or limited partnership desiring to sell at wholesale any alcoholic spirituous beverage shall make application to the commission for a license so to do, which application shall be in writing and verified, on the forms herein authorized to be prescribed and furnished;  thereupon the commission may grant such license subject to the restrictions of this chapter.

(b)(1) Each applicant for a wholesale license shall pay to the commission a one-time, nonrefundable fee in the amount of three hundred dollars ($300) when the application is submitted for review.  Such wholesaler's license, however, shall not be issued unless and until there shall be paid to the commission a separate license fee therefor of three thousand dollars ($3,000), and no license shall be issued except to individuals who are citizens of the state of Tennessee and either have been for at least the two (2) years next preceding citizens of the state of Tennessee or have been citizens of the state of Tennessee at any time for at least fifteen (15) consecutive years.

(2) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, it shall be lawful for any qualified applicant, including a corporation meeting the requirements of subsection (f), to receive and operate under both an alcoholic beverage wholesaler's license issued pursuant to this part, and a beer wholesaler's license issued pursuant to § 57-5-102 , upon satisfying all federal, state and local registration and permitting requirements applicable to both operations.  Nothing in this title is intended or shall be construed to prohibit a wholesaler licensed under this part or under chapter 5 of this title from holding more than one (1) license or permit for the wholesale of alcoholic beverages or beer in this state.

(c) No wholesale alcoholic spirituous beverage license shall be issued until the applicant has secured a basic permit to engage in the wholesale liquor business from the federal government.

(d)(1) Each representative or salesperson of any wholesale licensee in this state must obtain a permit from the commission before soliciting orders from retail licensees.  No other person shall be allowed to solicit orders for alcoholic beverages from retail licensees, and retail licensees shall not give an order to anyone other than the holder of a wholesale salesperson's permit.

(2) Where a wholesaler licensed under this part also maintains a beer wholesale operation as provided in subdivision (b)(2), it shall be lawful for anyone holding a permit pursuant to this subsection (d) to carry out similar duties with respect to such beer wholesale operation;  provided, that the permit holder has also satisfied any legal requirements applicable to such function within a beer wholesale operation.

(e)(1) Every wholesale licensee shall, before employing any person to dispense alcoholic beverages, secure from the commission an employee's permit authorizing such person to serve as an employee in the place of business of such wholesaler.  It is made the duty of the wholesaler to see that each person dispensing alcoholic beverages in the wholesaler's place of business has an employee's permit as above required, which permit must be on the person of such employee or upon the premises of the licensee at all times, subject to inspection by the commission or its duly authorized agent.

(2) Where a wholesaler licensed under this part also maintains a beer wholesale operation as provided in subdivision (b)(2), it shall be lawful for anyone holding a permit pursuant to this subsection (e) to carry out similar duties with respect to such beer wholesale operation;  provided, that the permit holder has also satisfied any legal requirements applicable to such function within a beer wholesale operation.

(f)(1) A wholesaler's license may, in the discretion of the commission, be issued to a corporation;  provided, that no license shall be issued to any corporation unless such corporation meets the following requirements:

(A) All of its capital stock must be owned by individuals who have been residents of Tennessee for not less than five (5) years next preceding or who at any time have been residents of the state of Tennessee for at least fifteen (15) consecutive years, and who have not been convicted within a period of five (5) years preceding acquisition of such stock for violation of either state or United States prohibition laws or revenue laws relating to intoxicating liquors;

(B) No person owning stock in such corporation shall have any interest as partner or otherwise in a business licensed to engage in the retail sale of intoxicating liquors in Tennessee;

(C) No stock of any corporation licensed under this subsection (f) shall be transferred to any person who has not been a resident of Tennessee for at least five (5) years next preceding or who at any time has not been a resident of Tennessee for at least fifteen (15) consecutive years.

(2) The commission is hereby authorized to revoke the wholesale license of any corporation which fails to comply with this subsection (f).

(g) Notwithstanding subsection (f), the commission, in its discretion, may issue a wholesale license to any corporation which has been domiciled in this state for twenty-five (25) years, or which has acquired substantially all of the assets of a Tennessee partnership (or limited liability company) which partnership (or limited liability company) has been continuously operating in this state for ten (10) years where such corporation has the majority of its assets located in this state and all of whose officers in actual control of the wholesale operations shall be actively present at the licensed premises and who are in actual charge of the operations of the wholesaler substantially full-time.  If any officers of such corporation have been convicted of any violation of the criminal code or of any violation relating to the enforcement of the liquor laws, no license under this subsection (g) shall issue.

(h) If at any time subsequent to the granting of a wholesale liquor license to any such corporation, the majority of its assets shall cease to remain and be located in the state of Tennessee, and if any of its active officers shall cease to be residents of Tennessee, then the commission, within its discretion, shall have the right to revoke such license.  The commission is further granted the right to make investigations at any time to ascertain if the majority of the assets of such corporation are located within the state of Tennessee and whether all of its active officers are residents of Tennessee, as above set out, and should its findings be in the negative, it may revoke such license.  The foregoing shall apply irrespective of the provisions contained in § 57-3-404(d) .

(i)(1) No license entitling the holder thereof to sell or deal in alcoholic spirituous beverages at wholesale shall be granted except in respect to premises situated within either a county having a population in excess of one hundred twenty thousand (120,000), according to the 2010 federal census or any subsequent federal census, or a county in which the voters of any municipality or other jurisdiction within that county have approved retail package sales or consumption of alcoholic beverages on premises by referendum as provided in this title.

(2) Notwithstanding the requirement imposed in subdivision (i)(1), a wholesale liquor license, limited to the sale and distribution of wine only, not to exceed six thousand (6,000) cases of wine per year, may be issued to an entity that is located in any municipality which:

(A) Has authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises pursuant to § 57-4-103 ;

(B) Has a bond rating of AAA issued by a nationally recognized bond rating agency;  and

(C) Is located within a county which has a bond rating of AAA issued by a nationally recognized bond rating agency.

(j) When a person not licensed under this chapter secures title to any alcoholic beverage owned by a wholesaler as a result of a default on loans or revocation of license, the manufacturer, rectifier, distiller or vintner who sold the alcoholic beverage to the wholesaler shall purchase the alcoholic beverage from the nonlicensed person who secured title in order that the creditors are satisfied.  Any manufacturer, rectifier, distiller or vintner who fails within thirty (30) days following default or revocation of license of the wholesaler to effect the purchase from the nonlicensed person who secured title shall not be allowed to ship or sell any alcoholic beverage in this state until the purchase is effected.


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