WSWA Applauds Tennessee AG Skrmetti for Taking Action Against Illegal Alcohol Shipments

May 31, 2024
State’s investigation leads to successful use of Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. 05/30/2024 – Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) applauds the recent actions taken by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti to hold entities illegally shipping alcohol to Tennessee consumers accountable.


Making use of the Twenty-First Enforcement Act, AG Skrmetti filed a lawsuit last year against six out-of-state retailers after undercover Tennessee ABC agents purchased and received spirits from the defendants during six separate investigations. In doing so, Tennessee became the third state to utilize the Twenty-First Enforcement Act, following similar suits brought forth by Attorneys General in Ohio and Michigan. 


Earlier this week, a federal court approved a settlement including nearly $60,000 in civil penalties against five online liquor stores unlawfully shipping alcohol directly to Tennessee consumers without proper licensing. The defendants were additionally ordered to cease illegal shipments into Tennessee and acknowledge their violations of illegally shipping to consumers. The state of Tennessee is still attempting to negotiate with the sixth retailer in the case. 


“Wine and spirits wholesalers across Tennessee appreciate the cooperation between the Tennessee Attorney General’s office and the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission,” said Executive Director Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee Ryan Hynes. “It is imperative that we enforce our state laws to prevent the illegal shipping of alcohol. Today’s victory against illegal alcohol sales is a step in the right direction and Tennesseans should be proud that we have a modern and robust alcohol regulatory system that protects all citizens."


As state lawmakers and regulators become more aware of the dangers brought forth by direct-to-consumer (DTC) alcohol shipping, it is imperative that state Attorneys General are aware of the power given to them via the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act empowering them to enforce violations of their state laws relating to the importation or transportation of alcohol.  WSWA supported the Act’s passage twenty-four years ago and has actively encouraged the use of the enforcement tool due to the numerous concerns that come with illegal shipments of alcohol. 


To read the Tennessee ABC press release on this matter, please click here