A Ban on Cold Beer Sales in Tennessee C-Stores?

Proposed ban of chilled alcoholic beverages at convenience stores was not extended to liquor stores.

February 16, 2024

Tennessee c-store and gas station owners are concerned after a bill was introduced in Tennessee banning cold beer sales last month, reported Fox13 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sen. Paul Rose (R-TN) and Rep. Ron Gant (R-TN) are sponsoring a bill prohibiting the selling of refrigerated or cold beer across the state.

According to the Tennessee Journal, in 2022, Gant was injured in a two-car crash when a vehicle crossed the middle line and struck his vehicle head-on, killing the driver.

On February 13, Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association (TFCA) leaders along with industry leaders met with Rep. Gant.

“I met with the House sponsor, Ron Gant. I was joined by several industry representatives. Rep. Gant is the survivor of a drunk driving crash and is adamant that prohibiting the sale of chilled beer will significantly reduce drunk driving,” said Emily Leroy, executive director of the TFCA.

During the meeting the group noted that the ban on chilled alcoholic beverages at convenience stores was not extended to liquor stores, and that craft beers are not pasteurized and must be stored chilled. A ban on chilled beer could damage the craft brewing industry in Tennessee.

The organization maintains that “bad actors who intend to drink and drive would continue their behavior by purchasing chilled beer and alcohol at liquor stores, bars and restaurants.”

The group also said the convenience store industry was the driving force behind Tennessee’s Universal Carding legislation and responsible for vendor clerk training programs.

According to TFCA, Indiana is the only state that prohibits the sale of chilled beer in convenience stores. A recent analysis published in the Indianapolis Star revealed that liquor stores sell to minors at twice the rate of other retailers, undermining a core argument used to justify the liquor store industry's virtual monopoly on cold beer sales.

The TFCA and industry representatives recommended an alternative proposal—outlaw open alcohol containers in vehicles or require that any open container be stored in the vehicle in such a way that the driver could not access it.