Tennessee sues online liquor stores that shipped alcohol to consumers

The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit on Friday against six out-of-state liquor distribution companies it said delivered liquor to Tennessee addresses without the appropriate licenses.

The companies are Bottle Buzz, Cask Cartel, The Liquor Bros, My Bev Store, Prime Time Liquor and Wooden Cork, all of which run websites where shoppers can order alcohol for delivery.

According to the lawsuit, there’s no license that allows out-of-state companies to ship liquors directly to Tennessee consumers. Doing so is a Class E felony, the lawsuit says.

The specific allegations in the lawsuit were the result of an investigation by undercover agents from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. After staff attorneys sent the companies cease and desist letters, the agents placed orders on their websites to be delivered to a Tennessee address. They received the drinks “untaxed and unauthenticated,” a news release states.

Bottles of Jack Daniel's Old No.  7 brand whiskey line the shelves of a liquor outlet in Montpelier, Vt.

Bottles of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 brand whiskey line the shelves of a liquor outlet in Montpelier, Vt.

In case you were wondering, here are the six drinks the undercover TABC agents ordered for their investigation, per the lawsuit:

  • A fifth of Evan Williams Peach Whiskey

  • A fifth of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon

  • One dozen 50 ml bottles of Sheep Dog Peanut Butter Whiskey

  • A fifth of Bird Dog Blackberry Flavored Whiskey

  • A fifth of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey

  • A fifth of Tito’s

The plaintiff is seeking an order prohibiting the companies from continuing to ship alcohol directly to customers, civil penalties pursuant to the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and reimbursement for their investigation.

The AG’s office said that this is the first time a Tennessee attorney general has used the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act, a federal law passed in 2000 that gives state attorneys the power to sue anyone believed to be illegally moving alcohol within the state.

The TABC thanked Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti for the litigation.

“I am very happy that General Skrmetti decided to prosecute this case,” said TABC Executive Director Russell Thomas. “Our agents and staff worked hard to collect the evidence against these bad actors. Too often, we find websites operated by unscrupulous individuals willing to deceive consumers.”

Evan Mealins is the justice reporter for The Tennessean. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanMealins.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee sues online liquor stores that shipped alcohol to consumers

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