Updated at: 08-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Navigating the alcohol laws in a new location can be complex and confusing, especially in regions known as “dry counties.” Did you know that Gatlinburg, based in Sevier County–a technically dry area of Tennessee–actually offers several options for buying and consuming alcohol?

This informative piece will demystify these perplexing regulations, detailing where and when you can purchase alcoholic beverages.

Is Gatlinburg a Dry County?


Gatlinburg, located in Sevier County, TN, is technically considered a “dry county,” but it does have options for the sale and service of alcohol within the city limits.

Overview of alcohol restrictions in Sevier County

Sevier County, home to Gatlinburg, technically falls under Tennessee’s “dry counties” classification. The term refers to counties where the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages is either restricted or outright prohibited.

This mandate forms part of the state-wide default dry policy that applies to five out of the 95 counties in Tennessee.

Despite these regulations, Sevier County has carved out exceptions for certain cities within its boundaries, including Gatlinburg. City options exist for both sale and service of liquor and beer within specified establishments, complimenting a thriving tourism industry.

In line with state law requirements, these businesses are authorized for alcohol sales while ensuring compliance with appropriate rules and guidelines. This unique framework allows visitors in Gatlinburg to enjoy their choice beverages without compromising legal mandates.

Explanation of Gatlinburg’s alcohol policies

Gatlinburg, located in Sevier County, Tennessee, operates under unique alcohol policies despite being situated in a technically “dry county.” While the overall county restricts or prohibits the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages, Gatlinburg has made accommodations to cater to its tourism industry.

The demand from visitors has influenced the city’s allowance of alcohol sales in certain establishments within its limits. Adhering to state law regulations, these businesses provide options for both locals and tourists seeking alcoholic beverages while enjoying their time in Gatlinburg.

Although Sevier County as a whole maintains restrictions on alcohol sales, individuals can venture outside of Gatlinburg’s borders to find nearby establishments where they can purchase alcoholic beverages if desired.

Where Can You Buy Alcohol in Gatlinburg?

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Liquor stores and specialty stores in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg may be located in a dry county, but there are still options for purchasing alcohol within the city limits. Here are some places where you can buy liquor and specialty drinks in Gatlinburg:

  1. Gatlinburg Wine Cellar: This specialty store offers a wide selection of wines from around the world. Whether you’re looking for a bottle to enjoy during your stay in Gatlinburg or to take home as a souvenir, Gatlinburg Wine Cellar has you covered.
  2. Smoky Mountain Brewery: If you’re in the mood for craft beer, head over to Smoky Mountain Brewery. They brew their own beer on-site and offer a variety of styles to choose from. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cold one with friends.
  3. Doc Collier Moonshine: No trip to Gatlinburg is complete without trying some moonshine. Doc Collier Moonshine offers an array of traditional and flavored moonshines that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. They even offer free tastings so you can find your favorite flavor.
  4. Old Smoky Moonshine: Another popular moonshine destination is Old Smoky Moonshine. Located right on the Parkway, they have a wide range of moonshine flavors to choose from, as well as merchandise and live music.
  5. Pepper Palace: If you’re a fan of spicy drinks, make sure to visit Pepper Palace. They offer hot sauce, salsas, barbecue sauces, and even spicy margarita mixers that will add a kick to your evening.

Moonshine distilleries in Gatlinburg

Moonshine distilleries in Gatlinburg offer visitors a unique experience where they can learn about the history and production of this famous Appalachian spirit.

  • Authentic moonshine: Gatlinburg is home to several distilleries that produce authentic moonshine using traditional methods. This allows visitors to sample and purchase a variety of flavors, from classic corn whiskey to fruity infusions.
  • Tastings and tours: Most moonshine distilleries offer guided tours where visitors can see the distillation process up close and learn about the illicit origins of moonshine in the region. Tastings are also available, allowing guests to sample different flavors and discover their favorite.
  • Craftsmanship and innovation: Many Gatlinburg moonshine distilleries pride themselves on their craftsmanship, using locally sourced ingredients to create unique blends. They often experiment with new flavors and techniques, showcasing the creativity and innovation within the industry.
  • Souvenirs and gifts: In addition to tastings and tours, moonshine distilleries usually have retail areas where visitors can purchase bottles of their favorite spirits. These make for great souvenirs or gifts for friends back home.
  • Local collaboration: Some moonshine distilleries in Gatlinburg collaborate with local businesses, such as chocolate shops or ice cream parlors, creating unique products that incorporate their spirits. This allows visitors to explore different culinary experiences while enjoying the distinct taste of moonshine.

Restrictions on alcohol sales on Sundays

On Sundays in Gatlinburg, there are some restrictions on alcohol sales. While the city does allow for the sale and service of alcohol throughout the week, there are specific regulations that come into play on Sundays.

According to Tennessee law, liquor stores in Gatlinburg must be closed on Sundays, meaning you won’t be able to purchase packaged liquor from these establishments. However, if you’re looking to enjoy a drink at a restaurant or bar, you’re still in luck.

Restaurants and bars in Gatlinburg are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays as long as they meet certain criteria set by state and local ordinances. So if you’re craving a refreshing cocktail or a glass of wine with your Sunday meal, there are plenty of options available within the city limits of Gatlinburg.

Understanding Alcohol Laws in the Smokies

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In the Smokies, alcohol laws vary depending on the specific county and city. Each area, including Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, has its own regulations surrounding alcohol sales and consumption to cater to both residents and tourists.

Explanation of the concept of “dry” and “wet” counties

Gatlinburg is located in Sevier County, which is considered a “dry county” according to Tennessee law. In simple terms, this means that the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages is either restricted or prohibited in the county.

However, it’s important to note that Gatlinburg has made accommodations for alcohol sales to cater to its booming tourism industry. Despite being officially classified as a dry county, there are options for the purchase and consumption of liquor and beer within Gatlinburg city limits.

The concept of “dry” and “wet” counties can be a bit confusing, but it essentially boils down to local ordinances and regulations governing alcohol sales. While Sevier County itself doesn’t allow widespread alcohol sales, certain cities within the county have chosen to opt out of these restrictions through what is known as a city option.

Differences in alcohol laws between Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville

The alcohol laws of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, though situated in the same dry county, vary slightly due to the different city options each has adopted to suit their tourism needs.

City Alcohol Laws
Pigeon Forge Technically a dry city within Sevier County, it however allows the sale and service of alcohol in some establishments, influenced by tourism demands.
Gatlinburg Located within Sevier County, it’s also technically dry. But it has options for liquor and/or beer sales within the city limits, adhering to Tennessee’s state law regulations.
Sevierville This city within Sevier County is technically dry as well but offers options for the sale and service of alcohol.

The approach each city has taken is a balance between the dry county status and the need to cater to the population of tourists visiting the area.


In conclusion, while Sevier County, where Gatlinburg is located, technically falls under the category of a “dry county,” there are options for purchasing and consuming alcohol within the city limits.

The tourism industry has played a significant role in allowing for alcohol sales in certain establishments to cater to visitors’ needs. It’s important to note that although there are restrictions, Gatlinburg offers opportunities for those looking to enjoy alcoholic beverages during their visit.