Moonshine now available on Sundays

New hours result of recently amended state laws
Jul. 11, 2013 @ 11:06 PM

If you’re thirsty for liquor on a Sunday and don’t mind having a sip of moonshine, you no longer have to wait for the next day to bring a drink home.

Under the newly amended state laws governing distilleries, their on-premise stores are allowed to remain open on Sundays.

Ole Smoky Distilleries in Gatlinburg started selling moonshine this past Sunday.

The store’s policies were previously governed by state laws concerning package stores, which call for the stores to be closed on Sunday.

But under the new state law that took effect July 1, distilleries selling their own products have a new set of guidelines. Keith Bell, director of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, confirmed this week that the new law allows liquor sales from noon to 7 p.m. Sundays.

Ole Smoky owner Joe Baker said that part of the law came as a surprise to him, but once Sunday hours were allowed, his business started operating within the new regulations.

“We were surprised that came about,” he said. “It wasn’t something we advocated for or supported, but it is a new change in the law.”

The new law made several changes to the regulations governing distilleries. In the past, a distillery needed a license for off-premise liquor sales to offer its product at an on-site store. That meant distilleries interested in on-site sales had to be located in areas that allowed package stores. Now, distilleries don’t need a separate license to sell their own product.

The distillery had been open on Sundays, meaning people could come in to buy other merchandise and to view displays on the history of moonshine and how it’s made at the distillery.

Only the section selling the whiskey itself had been closed, so the only change on Sundays is that liquor is available for sale.

Baker said he wasn’t aware of any complaints from customers who had previously come in to buy moonshine on Sundays.

“I think people understood that was the law that was in place and there was a good reason for respecting that,” he said.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com