Knoxville Police had another round of beer “stings” last week, wherein an undercover underage cadet finds out if he can buy beer at convenience stores and bars. So the question often arises in beer-arrest stories, do the police have a hands-off policy when it comes to Pilot stores? Pilot being the family business of Knoxville Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam.
Not so as you would notice. There have been two stings at Pilot stores in the last year, one resulting in a fine and suspension. The city did a sting at the Pilot on Alcoa highway this past February and the store passed. At its Asheville Highway location last year, an employee did sell beer and Pilot got a fine of $2,000 and beer selling was suspended for 20 days. Pilot has 25 stores in Knoxville and they have been “stung” 64 times since 2007, with six citations. They have had more “stings” than any other convenience store chain in Knoxville. Weigel’s had 47 visits and Kenjo markets had 40 during the same period.
Pilot requires a date from a photo ID to be entered into the cash register for beer sales.