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Four area retailers cited for selling alcohol to minors

By Tamas Mondovics

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, along with A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition Inc., conducted compliance checks last month among ten businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in Mountain City, Johnson County, TN.As a result of the campaign, The Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission initiated citations to four businesses including Mountain Spirits, Food Country, (Mountain City), Annie’s Backyard and The Hoppy Stop, notifying them of failing to comply with Tennessee laws regarding the sale of alcohol to minors.Alcohol compliance checks are a tool that law enforcement can use to reduce the availability of alcohol to underage youth from commercial sources such as bars, restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores.

“By preventing youth access from commercial sources, communities can reduce the negative consequences associated with underage drinking, thereby creating a safer, healthier environment for their youth,” stated an online report by the Alcohol Policy Resource Center. “Our sheriff department followed standard procedures for conducting compliance checks,” said Trish Burchette ACTION Coalition Executive Director.

Burchette explained that during the operation, an underage youth worked with officers, entered area businesses, and attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages.

“We want to commend the following businesses, who demonstrated responsible alcohol sales during our compliance check: Black Bear Wine and Spirits, Doe Valley Food Mart, Dollar General (Butler), Food Lion, Paradise Gas & Grill, Watauga Lake Winery,” Burchette said.

Retailers who did sell to an underage buyer have been referred to the Johnson County and Mountain City Beer Board for failing to comply with the state’s alcohol laws. Law enforcement officers conduct compliance checks because they are an effective strategy in reducing underage drinking. When underage youth drink alcohol, they are more likely to use drugs, get bad grades, suffer injury or death, engage in risky sexual activity, make bad decisions, and have health problems. However, when combined with a comprehensive community approach, they can help keep alcohol out of children’s hands. For additional information on other activities that the A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition provides, please contact the A.C.T.I.O.N. office at 423-727-0780.