Navigating Tennessee's liquor laws
Every day is a surprise in Tennessee, especially when it comes to purchasing alcoholic beverages. While the state does allow sales of some forms of alcohol on Sundays, there are specific Sunday rules regarding what can be purchased, where it can be purchased and during which hours spirits can be sold.
Buying hard liquor or wine at a store
If planning to buy vodka, rum or any form of hard liquor by the bottle, Sunday is out of the question in Tennessee. Liquor stores are the one place to buy hard liquor by the bottle in Tennessee, and state law requires these stores be closed on Sundays. In other words, shop by Friday or Saturday if you need tequila or rum for a Sunday soiree. The same law applies to wine. Both wine and liquor sales in stores are allowed from 8 a.m. Monday through 11 p.m. Saturday.
Grocery store sales
Grocery stores in Tennessee are allowed to sell beer and wine, as long as they're licensed to do so. There is a catch, though: On Sundays, they're not allowed to sell wine. Beer is still available for Sunday sale in grocery stores. Convenience stores and gas stations are also allowed to sell beer on Sundays.
Where to buy a drink on a Sunday
If you're not in the mood for cans or bottles of beer, other alcoholic beverage options are available on Sundays. Bars and establishments such as restaurants that have liquor licenses are still allowed to sell alcoholic drinks on Sundays. As can be expected, the drinks have to be consumed on-site; the business cannot sell such beverages to take home. Establishments with a liquor license are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays and can sell them through 3 a.m. Monday morning.
Quirky law for liquor town
Although Jack Daniels' distillery is in Tennessee, it's located in a "dry" county (Moore County), meaning alcohol isn't allowed to be purchased anytime, anywhere within the county. Even though the county has been dry for more than 100 years, guests are still allowed to take a sampling tour of the distillery to taste several whiskeys. The distillery also has a gift shop that is allowed to sell commemorative bottles of whiskey to its visitors.
Several other counties are also dry, although each has its own odd rules that are quickly changing. To find out in advance if the area you're visiting is dry, check with your hotel staff or an acquaintance that lives there. Many counties are quickly approving local regulations allowing some form of alcohol sales.