Posted on: March 23, 2023

Tennessee Responsible Vendor: How Often Must Clerks be Trained?

Tennessee Responsible Vendor: How Often Must Clerks be Trained?

As a seller or server of alcoholic beverages in Tennessee, it is essential to ensure that you comply with the state’s alcohol laws and regulations. One way to do this is by becoming a responsible vendor in Tennessee, which can be done through a Tennessee responsible vendor program

One of the requirements of the responsible vendor program is that clerks must undergo training to obtain certification. But how often must clerks be trained to maintain their responsible vendor certification? In this post, we’ll explore the definition of a vendor and the training requirements for clerks in Tennessee. 

What is a Vendor? 

In the context of the Tennessee responsible vendor program, a vendor refers to a business that sells or serves alcoholic beverages in Tennessee. These businesses can include bars, restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and any other establishment that sells alcohol for consumption on or off-premises. The Tennessee responsible vendor program requires these vendors to be certified and trained in responsible alcohol sales and service to ensure that they comply with the state’s alcohol laws and regulations.

According to the “Tennessee Responsible Vendor Act of 2006,” Tennessee Code Annotated § 57-5-601, under the responsible beer vendor program, a “responsible vendor” means a person, corporation, or other entity that has been issued a permit to sell beer for off-premises consumption and has received certification by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)

Examples of vendors

Many types of vendors exist across various industries. Some examples of vendors are:

  • Amazon: A large online retailer and web service provider that provides consumers with a wide range of products and services, from books and electronics to groceries and cloud computing.
  • Coca-Cola: A multinational beverage company that produces and sells soft drinks, juices, and other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Target: A retail chain that provides a wide range of products, including clothing, household goods, electronics, and groceries.

What is a Responsible Vendor Program? 

A responsible vendor program is a training and certification program designed to promote responsible sales and service of alcoholic beverages. The program is typically administered by the state or local regulatory agencies and is mandatory for certain businesses that sell or serve alcohol.

According to the Tennessee state government website, a responsible vendor program is an alcohol awareness training program that teaches the mandatory curriculum set forth by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)

There are two kinds of programs for responsible vendor training: 

  1. An in-house program. Administered by the vendor for the vendor's employees
  2. A public program. Administered to any individual by an entity other than a vendor. The vendor also administers a public training program for its employees and others. 

The program is intended to help alcohol sellers and servers to promote a safe and responsible drinking culture and reduce the risks associated with alcohol consumption, such as underage drinking, drunk driving, and other negative social and health consequences.

Businesses participating in a responsible vendor class can benefit from reduced liability and improved reputation in the community. By promoting responsible alcohol sales and service, they can help to create a safer environment for their customers and reduce the risks associated with alcohol consumption. 

Tennessee Responsible Vending Program

As mentioned, the Tennessee responsible vendor program requires all employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages to complete a state-approved training program and receive their responsible vendor permit.

The training provided through the Tennessee responsible vendor program must cover a variety of topics related to responsible alcohol sales and service, including: 

  • Information on the impact of alcohol on the human body, with a focus on specific elements.
  • Guidelines for identifying situations in which clerk intervention is necessary.
  • Techniques for handling situations and people in a non-confrontational manner and recognizing when support from colleagues may be needed.
  • Recommended responses for clerks to use when dealing with intoxicated or underage individuals.
  • A review of current Tennessee laws, regulations, and rules established by the Commission about the sale of beer and/or malt beverages, as well as the Tennessee Responsible Vendor Act of 2006.
  • A review of appropriate forms of identification, including acceptable driver’s licenses, passports, military identification, and other government-issued photo identification cards.
  • Instruction on how to identify fake or altered IDs
  • Notification to attendees that local regulations may affect the sale of alcoholic and malt beverages.

In Tennessee, the law requires that employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages receive certification through the Tennessee responsible vendor program annually, as certification is valid for ONE year. You’ll need to take a training program approved by the TABC, like our 

TIPS Tennessee On-Premise/Off-Premise Responsible Vendor Training. The TABC also provides a list of approved training programs and requires businesses to keep records of employee certification to demonstrate compliance with the law. 

How Often Must Clerks Receive Alcohol Training? 

In the responsible beer vendor program in Tennessee, a certified clerk is a certified responsible beer vendor employee who works in a capacity to sell, provide, distribute, and/or otherwise dispense beer of alcoholic content as defined at T.C.A. § 57-5-101(b) and whose duties include the opportunity to sell, provide, distribute and/or otherwise dispense such products. This also includes certified responsible beer vendor employees who monitor self-scan or customer-scan check-out areas.

Responsible beer vendors must be sure that all certified clerks obtain the required responsible beer vendor training. If a clerk works at multiple stores, the clerk must be on each store’s clerk list.

The frequency of alcohol training for clerks, also known as alcohol server training or responsible vendor training, can vary depending on the state or local jurisdiction where the clerk is working. 

In Tennessee, for example, the TABC requires that clerks working in establishments that sell or serve alcohol must receive alcohol server training annually. 

The responsible vendor certification is valid for one year from the issue date. To prevent interruption of certification, the responsible beer vendor training program must meet the following requirements at a minimum of 30 days before the expiration date: 

  1. Submit to the Commission a completed renewal application along with any amended or updated materials 
  2. List of all current trainers
  3. Appropriate renewal fee 

The training must be provided by a TABC-approved program and cover the mentioned topics. 

Other states may have different requirements for alcohol server training. Some states may require training only at initial employment, while others may require more frequent training, such as every three years or annually. Alcohol sellers and servers must be aware of the specific training requirements in their state or local jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the law.

In any case, it is always a good idea for clerks and other alcohol sellers and servers to receive ongoing training and education about responsible alcohol sales and service, even if it is not required by law. This can help them stay up to date on best practices and regulations and promote a safe and responsible drinking culture. Get started today!