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fstmatt

TN vs GA?

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Right now we are in the exploratory phase of opening a production facility in the southeast, and I am looking at some options in north GA or south TN area.  So I'm curious, what is people's experiences dealing with these respective state ABCs?  Specifically I would like to know what licensing is like, how it is working with the state agencies.  Cost appears to be similar.  I do not need (or want) a taproom, so how the state handles these does not bother me.  

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For TN: of course you'd have to go through local zoning and get your property first. But once you get your federal permit, then you apply to the state with owner info (similar to TTB OOI), pay distillers license fee, any local license (privilege fees) then sign up with a distributor and register your brands with state (more fees). You'll be inspected by TN ABC and TN Dept of Agriculture. Both are typically very fair to deal with.  I have yet to see the TN ABC deny someone a distillery license. 

TN is a three tier system and your TN distributor "owns" you in that region they operate. They can dump you if they don't want your product, but you have to go in front of a state judge to get out of contract with them if they won't want you to leave. And then you still may not be able to leave.

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GA distributor situation is similar.  They pretty much own your ass unless you can work out a buyout or leave the state for a set period of years.  Both states are absolutely shitty in that regard.  

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Fortunately we are already working with distributors in both states.  What I really want to know is what is it like working with the state level bureaucrats.  Where I am from the working with state or local can be challenging.

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1 hour ago, fstmatt said:

Fortunately we are already working with distributors in both states.  What I really want to know is what is it like working with the state level bureaucrats.  Where I am from the working with state or local can be challenging.

Could you give some examples of how they were difficult? We're located in downtown and didn't have any issues with zoning or other local issues. On the state level, we've been visited by TN ABC multiple times and they've always been professional and helpful in making sure we don't break any violations. They don't seem out to get anyone.

The TN guild is in a good position as well and works with the state legislature quite well. It certainly doesn't hurt that we have Jack Daniels in TN and they are on the guild.

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Sorry - 

On 10/9/2019 at 9:08 AM, glisade said:

Could you give some examples of how they were difficult? We're located in downtown and didn't have any issues with zoning or other local issues. 

If you are referring to my original question, I only have experience in New Mexico where the local governing made licensing very challenging.  Since I have some flexibility where the new facility would be located, I would love to make it easy on myself

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