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Republican Hits The Brakes on Tennessee Cold Beer Ban

Republicans have hit the brakes on a proposed cold beer ban in Tennessee. Rep. Ron Gant of the 94th District, an initial advocate for the ban, has decided to strike it from the Tennesee Prevention of Drunk Driving Act following public backlash and concerns that the ban would be “unfair to businesses”. 

If written into law, the ban would have limited the number of drinks a patron may have at a bar or restaurant, as well as banning the sale of cold, alcoholic drinks at convenience stores. 

Gant proposed the bill as a way to curb the number of fatal accidents involving drunk drivers, following his own experience of being hit by such a driver. He argued that ease of access to cold alcoholic beverages tempts drivers towards drunk driving behavior: “Why do we make it so easy for the bad actors to have access to alcohol? If we know that it’s illegal to drink and drive, why does it have to be cold? Why can’t it be just a little bit of inconvenience to plan ahead and if you want to stock your refrigerator, by all means.”

According to, there were 290 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Tennessee in 2019. 

There were numerous questions about how the ban would be enforced, including the logistical tracing of where a drunk driver purchased and consumed their drinks. 

The bill would have banned the sale of cold beer in convenience stores in Tennessee.

Other politicians scoffed at the very idea of banning cold beer, with Lt. Gov. Randy McNally saying “[n]ext they’ll be outlawing coffee, I guess”. 

Rep. Justin Jones of District 52 said: “I think it’s ridiculous that we are moving with more urgency to ban cold beer than we are to ban weapons of war from our street”. His comments follow a shooting at the Super Bowl victory parade in Kansas City that left a woman dead and 22 others injured. 

Still hoping to decrease drunk driving fatalities in the state, Gant is continuing to draft the overall bill. However, the ‘cold beer’ portion of the bill has been put aside. 

Rep. Ron Gant said “[w]hile the final version of the bill is still being drafted, it will not include any language that prevents the sale of cold beer in Tennessee. […] I do not want to infringe of law-abiding citizens or be unfair to businesses”.

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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