Tennessee to ban fruit-infused spirits

Infusing spirits with fruits and herbs is common practice when it comes to artisan cocktails, since you can really customize the spirits and get the flavors you want into them, without waiting for a major brand to launch a new specialty flavor. Restaurants and bars also like that they can create custom or signature spirits this way. Fans of craft cocktails in the state of Tennessee might soon have to turn back to those prepackaged spirits if they want something with some extra flavor. Beginning July 1, “any establishment [in Tennessee] found infusing fruit or herbs into alcohol for an extended period of time will be violating… state law.” The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission cites vague “health and welfare concerns” as the reason for the ban. Drinks that include fruits that are served immediately, such as blended margaritas, will not be impacted.

The Tennessee Hospitality Association, which represents bar and restaurant owners, is looking for more specifics on what these “health and welfare concerns” might be, and they have reported no complaints from customers concerning fruit-infused spirits. Bar owners in Nashville have voiced concern over the impact that this will have on their craft cocktail choices, although they will be looking for ways to make their drinks just as good without risking their liquor licenses.

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