Alcohol laws of Tennessee

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Map showing dry (red), wet (blue), and moist (yellow) counties in Tennessee

The Alcohol laws of Tennessee are distinct in that they vary considerably by county.

Local government jurisdictions (counties & municipalities) in Tennessee by default are dry and do not allow the sales of liquor or wine. These governments must amend the laws to allow for liquor-by-the-drink sales and retail package stores. In many cases, the county may be dry, but a municipality is wet. Selling beer does not impact a dry or wet designation. This list may not reflect recent changes.

Dry counties[edit]

In a "dry County", the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages is prohibited or restricted – nine out of Tennessee's 95 counties are completely dry.

Wet counties[edit]

The designation of a "wet county" applies to jurisdictions where the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages is permitted – 10 out of Tennessee's 95 counties are wet. The state's four largest cities, Memphis (Shelby), Nashville (Davidson), Knoxville (Knox), and Chattanooga (Hamilton), are located in "wet counties".

Moist counties[edit]

In a "moist county", the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages in certain jurisdictions is permitted. This designation applies to 76 out of Tennessee's 95 counties.


By 1810, registered distilleries numbered 14,191 and were producing 25.5 million gallons of whiskey.[5] In 2009, the Tennessee General Assembly amended the statute that had for many years limited the distillation of drinkable spirits to just three counties (Lincoln, Moore, and Coffee). The revised law allows distilleries to be established in 41 additional counties (counties in which liquor-by-the-drink was legal). This change was expected to lead to the establishment of small distilleries, thus increasing the number of producers of Tennessee whiskey.[6] As of March 2013, there are five brands with at least one Tennessee whiskey on the market, and several with whiskey in the barrel awaiting release.[7] By state law, distilleries may sell one commemorative product on location regardless of local statutes.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rader, Ashley (November 7, 2012). "Elizabethton liquor-store referendum passes with 58 percent of vote". Elizabethton Star. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  2. ^ Rader, Ashley (December 14, 2012). "Council sets liquor store limit at 3". Elizabethton Star. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  3. ^ "Package stores, consumption on premise passes". The Tomahawk - Mountain City, Tennessee. 2018-11-15. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  4. ^ "Selmer voters approve liquor referendums". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  5. ^ Gaston, Kay Baker (1999). "Tennessee Distilleries: Their Rise, Fall, and Re-emergence". Border States: Journal of the Kentucky-Tennessee American Studies Association. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  6. ^ John T. Edge, That's the Whiskey Talking, (Gourmet magazine website), August 13, 2009
  7. ^ "Distilleries". Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.

External links[edit]

Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission