Head of Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission resigns

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE (WKRN/WATE) – The head of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Executive Director Keith Bell, has resigned.

Reporter Chris Bundgaard for WATE 6 On Your Side’s sister station WKRN, confirmed the report with Tennessee Senator Bill Ketron Friday afternoon.

Bell’s decision comes just as grocery stores throughout the state are prepping to sell wine.

Sen. Ketron told WKRN he is shocked at the news and concerned about how wine in groceries stores would be implemented by the expected start date of July 1.

State Sen. Dr. Richard Briggs told WATE 6 On Your Side what he thought about the resignation of the head of Tennessee’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

“I’m literally shocked that this happened and it is in a very critical time within 90 days of the July 1st deadline when the wine can be sold in grocery stores,” said Dr. Briggs.

Dr. Briggs says wholesalers will be stocking store shelves even sooner.

“I believe that the stocking by the wholesalers into the stores will go rather smoothly but we’ll have to see if other issues come up as that process goes forward.  There’s always going to be issues that come up.  How close other liquor stores are.  We had a 500 foot difference from where the grocery stores are and liquor stores are.  There’s always been some inquiries about that that they would have to rule on,” said Dr. Briggs.

Briggs says the ABC board will need to find a new director.  He says the woman who is currently the assistant director is expected to step-up in an interim role.

No one was available for comment at the Alcoholic Beverage Commission due to the holiday. The president of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association said the process should go smoothly because of the reliable staff already in place.

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