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VOL. 37 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 8, 2013

Better to ship or receive gifts of liquor? Both options a hassle in Tennessee

By Hollie Deese

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Locating local liquor

Go online to major distributors to gift these local brands to out-of-state family and friends. If not, you’ll just have to shop local and will have no problem finding any of these brands right here in Music City, their base of operations.

American Born Moonshine

www.americanbornmoonshine.com

Collier and McKeel

www.collierandmckeel.com

Corsair Artisan Distillery

corsairartisan.com

Popcorn Sutton

www.popcornsuttonswhiskey.com

Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream

tennesseesippingcream.com

Belle Meade Bourbon

www.greenbrierdistillery.com

With all of the attention Nashville has been getting lately, it’s likely that an out-of-state uncle would love to open a Tennessee-themed holiday package this season, stocked with some of the area’s sweetest liquors.

Sending that gift is just a click away, right? Not really, even in the age of the Internet.

One reason is that Tennessee is a three-tier state, which means liquor manufacturers are only allowed to sell to wholesalers, who are then able to sell to distributors. Selling directly to consumers isn’t allowed.

But fans of many local brands like Corsair Artisan Distillers can still find a way to order the brands online, even if it isn’t through Corsair.

“In about half the states in America, you can get right online, order something, and have it there the next day,” says Corsair co-founder and Nashville native Darek Bell. “But sadly, if you are living here in Nashville, you cannot do the online thing.”

Instead, when people visit the Corsair website to buy, they are given a list of 30 online retailers from which Corsair products can be ordered. However, not every state allows delivery of liquor – including Texas, Kentucky, Hawaii and many more – so that’s tricky, too.

So, what about receiving a bottle of wine from out of state to Music City?

In 2009, Gov. Phil Bredesen signed a law that allowed out-of-state wineries to obtain permits allowing them to ship as much as one case of wine per month to any adult customer in Tennessee.

Liquor merchants are waiting for the same deal, since it is still illegal for companies to ship liquor to consumers in Tennessee, as well as to a number of other states such as Georgia, Indiana and Maryland.

“I can ship out of state, but not in state,” Bell says. “We are going to be here for a little while.”

So while customers can’t get Corsair through the mail in Arkansas or Maryland, fans can order it in Japan, Belgium, France and South Germany thanks to the international online retailer, The Whiskey Exchange.

“They can ship all over the European countries because they are much more lax about alcohol than we are,” Bells says.

“It’s amazing the number of countries they can ship to. But a lot of them didn’t go through Prohibition. But it is really exciting when your stuff really starts to get out there. It makes you proud.”

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