Restaurant and bar owners throughout Tennessee are seeing red. A 2006 law that bans them from infusing alcohol with food products, even non-alcoholic beverages, will soon be enforced.
The ban covers flavored liquor, such as infused whiskey, and pre-made mixed drinks, like margaritas.
In less than two weeks, each drink will have to be made to order when the ban by the Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) becomes effective.
The new head of the TABC, Keith Bell, plans to enforce the 2006 law,
Only licensed distilleries will be able to perform the practice.
Restaurant owners like Josh Rew, who is opening a French bistro in a few weeks in Whites Creek, planned to have a produce-driven infusion cocktail on his menu.
He said the new enforcement will set back Nashville's cultural scene and could hurt his and other restaurant owners' bottom line.
“If you are able to prep, then you can definitely get drinks out quicker. You can do higher volume, which means your profit margin goes up. People are happier, more word of mouth, and it definitely snow balls, but it could snowball in the other direction as well,” said Rew of the up and coming Chelsea Bistro.
The TABC cites health and safety concerns when restaurants infuse alcohol.
Attorney's representing the Tennessee Hospitality Association hope the ABC will not enforce the law in order for both sides of the situation to have time to talk.
The law will be enforced starting July 1.