Wine in grocery store debate returns to Capitol Hill - WKRN News 2

Wine in grocery store debate returns to Capitol Hill

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The debate over whether wine should be sold in grocery stores has once again taken center stage on Tennessee's Capitol Hill.

Under current law, wine in Tennessee can only be purchased at liquor stores.

Grocers say it should also be available in their stores.

Jarron Springer, executive director of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, has long been fighting to get wine into grocery stores, citing an issue of consumer choice.

"33 of the 50 states do it, five of the eight states that border Tennessee do it, why can't we do it," he asked.

Liquor store owner Chip Christianson is certain that allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores will lead to job losses.

He also cites "unintended consequences."

"It's dangerous to society," he said.  "If there are more outlets for alcohol, there will be more alcohol abuse.  It has negative effects on our business, no question about it."

Springer disagrees and says for consumers, it's all about convenience.

"I represent a lot of Tennesseans that feel it's important to be able to go into grocery stores and be able to buy a bottle of wine when you're there for your weekly shopping and not have to go somewhere else,' he said.

Those with both grocery store and liquor interest packed a committee room for the debate Wednesday.

Lawmakers say the issue is complicated and needs to be studied.

A panel has been set up to review whether or not the change would be good for Tennessee. 

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