A dozen people have appeared in Kingsport court during the past week for allegedly selling alcohol to underage customers, while the businesses where they work face fines and potential loss of beer permits.
According to affidavits in Kingsport court, the stings were conducted by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Kingsport police assisted in eight of the 12 compliance checks that resulted in charges. The employees found in violation were released on misdemeanor citations.
An ABC spokesperson said the first stings were conducted on Sept. 6. Court records state a female, age 20, was served a draft beer by waiters at The Tavern at Ridgefields, 2320 Pendragon Road, and Beef O’Brady’s, 300 Clinchfield St. In both incidents, the server reportedly didn’t check the ABC informant’s ID.
Employees of six other businesses allegedly sold beer to underage individuals that day, even after a check of their IDs that displayed they were 20 years old.
According to court records, the incidents occurred at: Chop House, 1704 N. Eastman Road; Fatz Cafe, 2610 W. Stone Drive; the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 926 E. Stone Drive; Rush Street Grill, 1229 E. Stone Drive; Sagebrush Steakhouse, 1600 E. Stone Drive; and Stir Fry Cafe, 125 Broad St.
Affidavits report four additional compliance checks on Sept. 26 that resulted in violations. An employee of Park Place Wine and Liquor, 1309 S. John B. Dennis Highway, allegedly sold a bottle of liquor to a 20-year-old without checking his ID. Underage buyers reportedly purchased beer at three additional restaurants that day after showing servers an ID that revealed they were underage: Buffalo Wild Wings, 1721 E. Stone Drive; La Carretta, 4252 Fort Henry Drive; and The Crazy Tomato, 4250 Fort Henry Drive.
The ABC reports each establishment was levied a $1,500 fine. KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton says police will bring the incidents to the attention of the Kingsport Beverage Board.
According to Beverage Board Chairman Bill Bovender, a show-cause hearing would then be held to determine if the alleged offenders’ beer licenses should be suspended or revoked.
The Beverage Board’s rules and procedures allow a fine of $750 or 15-day suspension of permit for a first offense. Second-time offenders are imposed a $1,500 fine or suspension of permit for at least 30 days.
All subsequent offenses bring a suspension of permit for 40 days, though the board stipulates any offense can constitute grounds for revocation.