Growlers are back: Off-premise sales of craft beers legal again at Smoky Mountain Brewery in Maryville
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fans of the craft beers served by the Smoky Mountain Brewery in Maryville can rejoice.
A change in state law effective May 14 means they can once again enjoy the beverages at home for the first time in months after the state cracked down on restaurant sales for off-premise consumption late last year.
General Manager Joe Cowen said the restaurant is back in the business of selling beer for off-premise consumption “just like we used to. We sell it by the bottle, mini-keg, and the growlers. We can also fill keg orders.”
The crackdown had halted sales of the beer at a very inopportune time. “We really started picking up (in sales) toward the end of last year right before they took it away,” Cowen said.
In September, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued a memorandum advising that restaurants holding liquor-by-the-drink licenses were prohibited from the sale of draft beer for take-out. Customers were quick to make their feelings known to state legislators, who responded.
As enacted, the new law, sponsored by state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville, allows beer manufacturers that are also licensed as restaurant or limited service restaurant for purposes of selling alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises to sell beer manufactured at such brew pub for of- premises consumption.
This change was greeted warmly by the management of the Copper Cellar family of restaurants, which includes the Smoky Mountain Brewery chain, which had been forced to cease selling the beer for take-home consumption until the change in state law.
“We’re very happy about the change,” Copper Cellar COO Bart Fricks said. “It was through our legislators, and they changed the law, and we’re just tickled to be able to provide that service back to our customers. We really want to thank a lot of our customers who wrote letters and email and social media to the legislature, and I think that helped us out a whole lot.”
There are four Smoky Mountain Brewery locations around East Tennessee: Knoxville, Maryville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.