Lawmakers to discuss grocery store wine sales - WKRN News 2

Lawmakers to discuss grocery store wine sales

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Tennessee state lawmakers will head back to work this week, as the legislative session begins on Tuesday.

Whether or not Tennesseans should be able to buy their wine in grocery stores is sure to be another argument.

"If [there are] alcoholic beverages in a grocery store, why can't you have wine there too?" asked shopper Andy Guy.

The issue came up last session but lawmakers never voted, deciding to study the issue after hearing from both sides.   

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

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

"I can absolutely guarantee you we will lose employees; there will be a net loss of employment if this bill passes.  Citizens didn't start this movement.  Very high paid [public relations] firms by large grocery chains started this movement," Christianson said.

Springer, however, said statistics prove otherwise. 

"There are more liquor stores per capita in states that allow the sale of wine in food stores than states that don't, so there's obviously not going to be a huge loss of liquor stores or jobs.  There hasn't been in any other state," he said.

It is also an issue that convenience liquor stores close on Sundays, so anyone looking to pick up a bottle of wine before dinner cannot do so.

Shopper James Spelta wants to see wine available in grocery stores for that reason.

"You'd have to get it Saturday or the day before, which never made any sense to me," he told News 2.

Not all shoppers mind making a separate stop for their wine. 

Holly Hickman said, "You can get wine at a wine store and so you go to a wine store.  I generally do that anyway, as opposed to get it at the grocery store."

Supporters of selling wine in grocery stores say consumers need to write their representative and let them know that's what they want.

It remains to be seen whether that will happen this session.

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