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State-wide self-distribution in Tennessee began October 1, 2021 for brewers. Rob Pinson and yours truly prepared the following summary of this ground-breaking law. Enjoy brewing, self-distributing and making money. In the words of Lee Brice, 

One thing's clear,
by the looks of the crowd in here

We gonna need more beer

What does the new law do?  Took effect October 1, 2021

  • Removes the prohibition on self-distributing outside your home county
  • Brewery may self-distribute beer in its home county as long as it does not produce more than 25,000 barrels annually
  • Brewery may self-distribute outside home county, but only if:
    • It does not self-distribute more than 1,800 barrels annually (does not include taproom sales); and 
    • It is not prohibited from self-distribution in that county by the wholesaler’s contract
  • The various locations owned by a brewery are probably lumped together for purposes of the 1,800 limit
  • Once the 1,800 limit is exceeded, the brewery has 90 days to contract with a licensed wholesaler
  • In addition, the brewery must report self-distribution volumes by jurisdiction, file and maintain price lists, be subject to price restrictions of wholesalers, be subject to wholesaler record-keeping requirements, and submit monthly RAP (Retail Accountability Program) reports, including sales made in taproom

Existing Requirements for Self-Distribution

  • Must have a retail operation to self-distribute
  • Cannot produce more than 25,000 barrels annually
  • Must register as a wholesaler with the Tennessee Department of Revenue, including submitting the (up to) $10,000 bond
  • Brewery pays barrelage ($4.29/31-gallon barrel) and wholesale ($35.60/31-gallon barrel) taxes on self-distributed beer

What are your options?

  1. Sell in taproom, use a wholesaler for all distribution, even in home county (25,000 bbl)
  2. Self-distribute in home county and use wholesalers for rest of state (25,000 bbl)
  3. Self-distribute in some counties and use wholesaler for rest (1,800 bbl)
  4. Self-distribute throughout state (1,800 bbl)
  5. Only sell in your taproom with no distribution (25,000 bbl)
  6. Do not sell in a taproom and only use wholesalers for distribution (no bbl limit)

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