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RLPS is the Regulatory Licensing and Permitting System through the Tennessee Alcoholic and Beverage Commission. This TN Alcohol commission is responsible for issuing alcoholic beverage related licenses for anything over 8% or greater alcohol content. However, TABC does not work with beer permits which are handled locally.
Some of the licenses you can apply for through RLPS include Retail Food Store Wine License, Direct Shipper, Wholesaler, and Non-Resident Seller License.
The RLPS was launched in January of 2018 which made it easier for the agency to process for licenses and permits in the state. While the state did accept some paper applications up until February 1, after that, all new apps have been done on RLPS. Those who needed renewals had to use the system after April 1.
So, what do you need to know about RLPS?
With your first renewal using RLPS, make sure you don’t start the renewal application until after TABC comes to inspect your place of business. This typically happens within 60 days of your renewal date.
Individual owner info, such as what used to be collected on TABC questionnaires and declarations of citizenship, need to be submitted in RLPS for both new apps and your first time renewing. Here you need to share acceptable forms of ID and failure to do so might mean you can’t get a license.
Since RLPS is brand new, you might need to enter more information than usual since your information is not yet in the system. But then it will be there for you in upcoming years.
Here is a list of the documentation you will need to apply for a TN alcohol license. Also, keep in mind that the system isn’t mobile-enabled yet so you’ll want to work on a full computer. The supported browser is Internet Explorer so don’t try to use Chrome or another. Make sure your popup blocker is turned off for TABC pages as well so that you can get the messages from the system as you go through the process.
Make sure your servers have the proper training they need as well. Contact us at Aim to Serve to find out what you need to do to run a compliant alcohol-related business.
Understanding the Alcohol history of Tennessee can help you understand today’s laws and regulations. Being the buckle of the Bible Belt, Tennessee has an interesting history with alcohol. It all started in 1838 when Tennessee was the very first state to pass a law of prohibition against alcohol. This law said that you could not sell alcohol, specifically hard liquor, in taverns or in stores as a result of a movement against the negative effects of drinking. The law was a misdemeanor, which wasn’t quite enough to stop the flow of alcohol through the state.
Jack Daniels Distillery
One of the most important landmarks in TN is the Jack Daniels Distillery located in Lynchburg. It was started in 1866 by Jaster “Jack” Newton Daniel. It is the oldest distillery in the US and receives thousands of tourists to the site each year. However, it’s a dry county there so don’t expect to get liquored up on the tour. You can, however, receive several samples at the distillery under the guise of “educational purposes.” This is important research, after all.
Just because nationwide prohibition ended in 1933, didn’t mean TN was going to immediately jump on the bandwagon. Changes to drinking laws have been slow, with some counties choosing to remain dry or refusing to serve certain drinks, like liquor.
In 1984, along with several other states in the country, TN raised the drinking age to 21 from 19. This was because the country passed The National Drinking Age Act. States that didn’t comply would have 10% of their federal highway budget removed.
Now there is a Tennessee Whiskey Trail, just a year old in June of 2018, that includes 25 distilleries across the state. Here’s where you can learn the most about local TN whiskey and all of the history and culture surrounding it’s production.
Alcohol in Grocery Stores
It used to be more difficult to purchase alcohol in TN, but with recent changes in grocery store allowances, you can now buy win and beers up to 10% ABV. But, you can’t buy liquor when you are getting your chips, dip, and hamburgers, and you can’t buy high-gravity beers. And forget buying anything on Sunday mornings. You have to wait until noon, and then you can just buy beer. So if you have plans for a Sunday BBQ, be sure to stock up and prepare for the difficulties of buying alcohol in TN on Sundays.
Being a bartender or being involved in alcohol sales means means you might be asked from time to time about blood alcohol content (BAC) from customers, friends, or curious family members. You should have a toolbox of BAC apps at your disposal. Once you receive your certification, you become the go-to person for everything alcohol related.
“How much alcohol is in a screwdriver?”
“Can I drink more if I eat first?”
“Will I get sick if I drink liquor or beer first?”
Some of the questions are silly, but others give you a chance to really impart some health education on how people can be responsible drinkers. Here are a few of the top BAC apps and educational tools in use today.
A more surefire way to test BAC is with the BACTrack Breathalyzer App for iOS. You need the breathalyzer which connects the app to your device wirelessly using Bluetooth. One of the best features is that you can use it to test not only yourself, but your friends who are with you as well. Another nice feature is the ZeroLine which tells you approximately how long it will take you to get all of the alcohol out of your system.
The Virtual Bar
Available both online and as an app, The Virtual Bar from The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a good BAC estimator to explore before you go out for a night of drinking. You select your gender, height, weight, and age, and then the type of drink to consume. You also select how long you take to consume the drink, a minute (like a shot or chug), 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. This app also allows you to add food eaten which can be an important factor in BAC. When you begin drinking with food in your stomach, this slows the absorption of alcohol. So, you can see the difference between drinking on an empty stomach, or after a cheeseburger and fries. This app also tells you how long it will take you to get back to 0.000 BAC.
The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership at Duke University has an excellent comprehensive program for sharing information with high school-aged students. This is an ideal program for talking about drinking with your kids, nieces and nephews, or even first year college students. We hope they don’t drink because it’s illegal for anyone under 21 (under most circumstances), but parties happen and opportunities happen. Let’s arm them with the information they need to make safe decisions based on the facts.
You’ll want to keep your toolkit of alcohol education apps and materials handy as you enter your bartending or alcohol sales career. You never know who you’ll be able to help by showing how them how to enjoy responsibly.
Weird Alcohol Laws on the Books
There are some fairly standard alcohol laws that most of us can get behind, like having a BAC (blood alcohol content) level too high to operate machinery and a legal age for drinking. But there are some others that make you say “Wait…what?” Here are just a few of the weird alcohol laws on the books around the country. Perhaps knowing a few of these tidbits will help you during your next night of local bar trivia.
Maine was the first state to prohibit manufacturing and sale of liquor in 1851. The ban only lasted 5 years, which was plenty long enough for those who like a little white wine with their melted-butter soaked lobster tails.
Then, ever since the nationwide prohibition, which was from 1919 to 1933, Maine legislators allowed communities to determine to their alcohol status. This leaves about 50 areas in Maine today that are completely dry.
But the whole state isn’t so stuffy. If St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Sunday, when one typically can’t buy alcohol before 9:00 am (cause you should be in church, you heathen!), they’ll look the other way while you buy armloads of beer at the crack of dawn.
Keep the ladies off the labels and everything will be ok in Alabama. That’s right, in the heart of the Bible belt, you can drink your wine, but you won’t find any labels with “immodest or sensual” imagery. That would be just too much to bear! Now get me my Alabama Slammer or Yellowhammer and meet me on the side porch to watch this hurricane go through.
“Feel free to drink like a fish in Ohio, but no matter how tempted you may be, do not give any alcohol to a fish.”
This oft-cited weird alcohol law is actually not true. There is nothing on the books in Ohio that says you can’t get a Bass as tipsy on Buckeye beers as you’d like. But it turns out there is some history with the strange, yet popular, non-law.
It wasn’t Ohio, but Oklahoma where there was a law on the books that you couldn’t poison to catch fish with “fish berries,” a native berry used to flavor a local distilled brew. Somehow, over time, it all got mixed up into getting fish drunk and a typo from Oklahoma to Ohio makes this one of the longest running alcohol myths to date.
South Carolina and Kentucky
Election day – A day where about half of the population will want a drink or two to celebrate, and the other half will want several more drinks to drown in their sorrows. Too bad if you live in South Carolina or Kentucky because there’s no drinking allowed on Election Day. But, go ahead and build up a hoard of liquor and beer in your home for that special day, because the law is actually just against serving it or selling it. Here’s to legal loopholes!
Being a bartender is a great job. You get to socialize, the shifts are flexible, and you earn tips. Do you want to become a bartender but don’t know what it takes? Try these simple steps to start your journey.
Get an ABC permit
ABC stands for alcoholic beverage control. These permits are obtained by taking classes, and they educate you in the art and business of serving alcohol. Having an ABC permit can help you stay well versed in the most current regulations so you avoid fines, insurance hikes, loss of your liquor license, or even business closure.
Memorize classic cocktails
Classic cocktails are going to be some of the most popular drinks people order, so it’s a good idea to know how to make them. Research some of the most popular cocktails so you have a good base knowledge of what your customers will order. Drinks like a Martini, Manhattan, Margarita, Bloody Mary, Long Island Iced Tea, Whiskey Sour, and an Old Fashioned are all considered classic cocktails.
Learn the lingo
If you’ve ever spent time in a bar, then you’ve probably heard some of the bartending terms that most bartenders use. You can learn these during your training, but it’s beneficial to know them ahead of time. Terms like “on the rocks,” “with a twist,” “up,” and “neat” are all phrases you should understand. You should also know terms like shaking, muddling, or stirring, and how they change the way a drink is made.
Practice, practice, practice
Before you step behind the bar, the best thing you can do is practice. You can throw a party with all your friends and play bartender for the night so you can really build up the skills and muscle memory it takes to become a good, quick bartender. Your friends can give you their honest opinion on how good your drinks taste so you can improve.
Try a barback position first
The barback is basically the busser of a bar. They lift heavy objects like kegs and other package orders, and they run around the bar making sure everyone has what they need. Becoming a barback is a great way to get familiar with the bar if you’re not quite ready to become a bartender yet.
There are approximately 65,116 bars, taverns, and nightclubs across the United States today. If you want to bartend at one of them, make sure you get your ABC permit, memorize the classics, learn the lingo, and practice. All of these tips should get you on the path to success.
You’ve been to a bar or restaurant where you’ve seen a bartender having tons of fun with their customers. Besides working with booze all the time, there are other benefits to becoming a bartender. If you have the skills to do it, here are some undeniable reasons being a bartender is an awesome job.
You always get to socialize
People come into bars every day, so you are always talking with someone. You get to meet all different kinds of people, and you never know what kind of entertaining conversation awaits. You also never know what kind of relationships you’ll form with the people you meet. You might make great networking connections, new friends, or even find the love of your life.
You get tips
On top of your hourly wage, most patrons will tip you for your service. The better your service, the better your tips will be. This gives you a great earning potential. You might take home a whole week’s pay in just one busy Friday night after all the tips you get.
The shifts are flexible
If you’re not the kind of person that wants a nine-to-five office job, then bartending might be the choice for you. You typically can work the lunch shift and be out for activities with your friends later, or you work at night and have free time during the day. Either way, you aren’t chained to a desk completing boring work every day.
You don’t need a degree
When you apply to be a bartender, the employer does not ask what your degree is in. Although you don’t need a traditional college degree to be a bartender, it helps to have ABC classes under your belt. An ABC license gives you the knowledge you need to be a safe, successful bartender. You learn almost everything you’re going to need to know when you’re actually behind the bar serving drinks to patrons.
The employment of bartenders across the country is projected to grow 10% from 2014 to 2024. This rate is faster than the average for all other occupations. It’s no wonder more and more people want to be bartenders. You get to meet people, get tips, the shifts are flexible, and the ABC training is way more interesting than studying for a college degree. Have fun on your new adventure as a bartender!
Shoutout to all you bartenders out there. You’ve got a doozy of a job some days, and it can be wildly thankless and stressful, but your level of responsibility is no joke. Maybe you took your ABC class a while ago, maybe you’re enrolling in classes now or getting a license soon. Either way, the advice ahead is universal.
You know the gig. When bartenders are on a shift, they can go 10 to 12 hours straight, sometimes without taking a break. Getting tired is a fact of the industry, but getting lazy is not. You’re the kings and queens who hold the keys to the castle from behind the bar and have an obligation to look out for the contentment, safety, and health of masses that flood you with incessant requests for service. The ultimate service industry balancing act. We have some simple mantras that’ll keep you keen back there. Some you may learn in ABC class, others are from years in the trenches, and you’re bound to come across some of your own as you go forward, but all of them are excellent to keep in mind and practice.
Awareness is key
Barring extreme circumstances, being aware of what’s going on in your bar will help you avoid issues before they actually become issues. The bartender on their phone can’t possibly serve people, let alone see if there are situations developing that require immediate or impending attention. Heads up, phones down, you’re vigilant; you surely don’t want to be in the position of not knowing what’s going on if something happens in your domain.
Time is your ally
The only thing that cures drunk is time. Not coffee, not food, not some ill-contrived internet hack or pill, just time. Awareness plays into this because you can’t know a patron’s intake level and consumption timeframe unless you’re paying attention whilst serving. Bartenders can get in a lot of trouble if they aren’t focused here. They’re at your bar, they’re asking you for beverages, not serving themselves. As much as it’s your responsibility to be aware of them, it’s your responsibility to be aware of yourself. Take care to not overserve and make sure everyone has a water in front of them, regardless of whether or not they drink it (it’s just good form).
If you must, be the enemy
They’ll teach this in ABC class, but you won’t feel how difficult it is until you’re put in the position of being the enemy. There comes a point in every bartender’s career that they have to stop serving someone, ask someone to leave, or send them home. Naturally, 99% of the time, this doesn’t go over well with the person being given the boot. It’s not fun being the bad guy/girl in that instance, but we guarantee it’s for the best. You’re looking out for their safety, plus, in the end, they’ll end up returning and thanking you most times. Being the enemy from time to time saves the customer, the establishment, and you.
Bartending is one of the most interesting jobs in existence. You cultivate your own social microcosm immersed in a rich tapestry of human interaction and exchange, just add alcohol. That can make things a bit more combustible, but that’s part of the fun. So long as safety, awareness, and responsibility are entering into your process behind the bar, you’re well on your way to making the best bar environment possible.