The City of Oak Ridge recently amended the City ordinance pertaining to the ability of customers/patrons to bring alcoholic beverages (commonly referred to as "brown bagging") into a place of business. The ordinance number is 23-2012.

Effective November 15, 2012, with the business owner’s consent a customer is allowed to bring beer and/or wine into a food service establishment that has an on-premises consumption beer permit or whose management possesses a current server permit issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Requiring a food service establishment to possess an on-premises consumption beer permit or a TABC server permit is indication of the business’s knowledge in how to manage the on-premises consumption of alcohol. A food service establishment is a defined term by Ordinance 23-2012 and, generally speaking, is a restaurant. Enforcement of this ordinance will begin January 1, 2013.

To be clear, city ordinance does not allow this practice in any other public place. Further, this ordinance does not provide any additional allowances or restrictions on establishments with a liquor-by-the-drink license, which are governed by the State. According to the TABC, an establishment with a liquor-by-the-drink license is prohibited by law from allowing patrons to "brown bag" any beverage containing alcohol. This ordinance does not change that State law prohibition.

As a reminder, consumption of alcohol and possession of an open container of alcohol are prohibited within a motor vehicle and upon the public roads and streets. A person must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age to consume a beverage containing alcohol regardless of location. Please drink responsibly.

Note: The owner of a food service establishment with a beer permit or server permit is not required to allow this practice and customers may not bring in beer or wine unless the owner has specifically given his or her consent.

For more information, contact: City of Oak Ridge Legal Department at (865) 425-3530 or visit the city website www.oakridgetn.gov .

New media contact: Candice Brown (865) 425-3546 or cbrown@oakridgetn.gov