State Bill Would Have You Buy Your Beer Warm

Tennessee measure would ban sales of cold beer to cut down on drinking and driving
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2024 4:15 PM CST
In This State, Selling Cold Beer May Soon Be a Relic
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Stockah)

Grabbing a cold one from the local gas station or convenience store on the way home from work may soon be a thing of the past for the quaffers of Tennessee. New legislation has been introduced in the Volunteer State that would prohibit the sale of chilled beer, in an attempt to keep customers from popping their cans open on the way home and driving while intoxicated, reports the Tennessean. SB 2636, introduced at the end of last month by Sen. Paul Rose and Rep. Ron Gant, both Republicans, would "[prohibit] a beer permittee from selling at retail refrigerated or cold beer." Gant notes the issue of drunk driving in his state, with stark evidence found in the litter scattered across Tennessee.

"If you look on the side of the road across our state, you'll see the beer cans," he tells the Tennesseean. "That's your evidence that people are drinking and driving. They're getting that beer, that alcohol from the convenience stores." The bill would also put a limit on how many drinks a person can imbibe at bars and restaurants, unless they have a designated driver with them, per WSMV. Gant's feelings on this are somewhat personal: He spent weeks in the ICU in 2022 after a drunk driver slammed into his vehicle, leaving him with a shattered hip that leaves him reliant on a cane to walk.

Some local businesses aren't happy with the looming legislation. Andy Ashby, co-owner of Memphis Made Brewing, says if the bill is made into law, it would have an adverse effect on his business, which not only serves beer on-site in the taproom, but also offers product to take home. The brewery's head brewer, co-owner Drew Barton, estimates that up to half of their sales are package sales, and the vast majority of those entail cold beer. "There's a saying in beer sales: Cold is gold," Ashby tells the Hill. A similar law to the one proposed in Tennessee exists in just one other state, per WSMV: Indiana. The Tennessee bill hasn't advanced since its Jan. 31 introduction and isn't currently on the calendar in either the state House or Senate. (More beer stories.)

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