Watertown finalizes liquor plans

Xavier Smith • Aug 25, 2017 at 12:33 PM

Watertown officials ironed out minor details in the city’s liquor regulations this week, and Mayor Mike Jennings said the city has officially entered the liquor business.

“We’ve had two applications for a liquor store license. One of them has been approved by us and the [state Alcoholic Beverage Commission]. They opened about the middle of June. We have another one that has been approved by us and is awaiting action, as I understand it, from the Alcoholic Beverage Commission,” Jennings said.

Jennings said the city has not received any applications for a liquor-by-the-drink license. Restaurants that wish to sell liquor in their establishments, must apply through the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The license allows an establishment to sell and dispense alcohol beverages that contain an alcohol content higher than 8 percent, according to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The commission does not have jurisdiction over alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic content less than 8 percent by weight. To apply for beer permits, Watertown establishments should contact the Watertown Beer Board, according to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

“For several years now, you’ve been able to buy package beer, but you haven’t been able to buy beer at a restaurant or whatever. Now, you can do that, but no one has made an application for that,” Jennings said.

To receive a license, restaurants must adhere to certain requirements. Requirements include no sleeping accommodations, a seating capacity of at least 40 people at tables, open at least three days a week, more than 50 percent of the restaurant’s gross revenue must be generated from serving meals and more.

Employees who serve beer, wine or any other alcoholic beverage must also possess a server permit from the commission.

The Watertown City Council also approved an ordinance that does not allow a liquor store in the city’s historic district, and an ordinance that prohibits the sell of liquor or beer within 250 feet of a school, church or public library.

“I know we’re in a position where people can make their applications,” Jennings said.

Jennings said Watertown Alderman Katie Smith, owner of Nona Lisa Pizzeria, contacted a Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission attorney, who has offered to meet with the council and offer guidance on regulations.

“I’d be naïve if I didn’t think that somewhere down the road we didn’t have to tweak it a little bit,” Jennings said.

For more information, visit tn.gov/abc.


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