Tennessee liquor laws are hopelessly complex, and the rules for sake are among the most byzantine.
Sake is rice wine. Is it wine under Tennessee law?
No. Wine must be made from grapes or other fruit to legally be wine in Tennessee. Rice is a grain.
Sake is clear and tastes like liquor. It must be liquor. Ever slammed a sake bomb? But sake is not distilled and is not a spirit under Tennessee law. Sake is brewed.
Is it a beer? It doesn't have malt and hops and certainly doesn't taste like Budweiser. But voila, sake is beer under Tennessee law. Brewed from grain, like our favorite cereal in a can – beer.
Yes, Virginia, you can sell sake in your grocery or convenience store.
Well, at least some kinds of sake. Remember that pesky high gravity rule about beer? Beer under 8% by weight or 10.1% by volume can be sold in a grocery store or convenience market. Beer over 10.1% ABV must be sold in a liquor store.
Same rules apply for sake, because sake is beer under Tennessee's tortuous liquor laws. A grocery store can sell sake under 8% by weight or 10.1% by volume with its beer permit. Sake over 10.1% ABV is high gravity and cannot be sold with a beer permit by a grocery store or convenience market.
We ransacked what is left of our minds and turned up naught for songs about sake. But we couldn't resist the infectious song “Twist Barbie” from the Japanese pop-punk all-female trio Shonen Knife:
She's very smart.
She can dance well.
Bang, bang, bang, Twist Barbie.