TELLICO PLAINS-"Moonshiners" won't
be filming in Tellico Plains anytime soon, as the town has put a stop
to distilleries locating within the city limits.
A bill passed by the Tennessee General
Assembly at the end of the 2013 session amended the 2009 state law,
allowing the manufacture of intoxicating liquors an beverages with
greater than 5-percent alcohol by weight in jurisdictions that meet
Last week, the Monroe County Commission
voted to not opt out of the state law, making the county eligible for
a distillery to locate in the county. Each municipality, however,
also has the choice of opting out or maintaining the county's overall
decision, as the county only has the power to make the decision for
the unincorporated areas.
Of the six criteria, Tellico Plains is
affected by the new law because it allows package sales and the
consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises of businesses.
The new state distillery law went into
effect on July 1 and there is a 45-day grace period for counties and
cities to opt out of the legislation. Since the city council of
Tellico Plains did not meet in July, they were forced to take action
Thursday in order to meet the Aug. 15 deadline.
"If we opt out, we have to pass a
resolution that removes us from it," Tellico Plains Mayor Patrick
Hawkins explained to the board. "If we take no action, someone can
come in and set up a distillery if they choose to."
Hawkins explained that the town could
opt now now and then undo that decision later on if for any reason
they would decide to allow it.
"This way, I could set up a
distillery in my garage, couldn't I?" joked Alderman Robert
Hamilton. "I don't think we need that."
In a unanimous vote after a brief
discussion, the Tellico Plains City Council opted out of the state
distillery legislation, passing the resolution to send back to the
Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Tellico Plains is the first
municipality in the county to opt out of the legislation. The city of
Madisonville initially voted to opt out, but rescinded their decision
and chose to not opt out of the new law.