Vote Could Decide If Wine May Be Sold In Grocery Stores

(WREG-TV) The fight to let grocery stores sell wine will likely go before state lawmakers next year.

Liquor store owners say the change would require major changes to state and local liquor store laws.

After eight years, some Tennessee lawmakers believe 2014 will be the year voters will get a chance to decide if they want to wine in grocery stores.

While the momentum seems strong, don’t pop a cork just yet.

Multiple state and local laws on store hours, locations near schools, churches, and
other liquor stores would be looked at if the law passes.

It could take years to sort it out.  Liquor store owners say a vote has been building for years.

“With each year it seems the idea has advanced a little further in the legislature and people are talking more and more about it  so it does seem like this thing is coming to a head,” said Scott Smith, owner of The Wine Market.

In Tennessee, liquor store owners can only own one store in the state, leading to several changes involving grocery store chains.

“Multiple store ownership in this state is illegal so each of us that only own one license and one location should this pass will be forced to compete with multiple outlet national chain stores,” Smith said.

He believes smaller liquor stores don’t have the same strength to compete in Nashville with big grocery chains lobbying for the bill to pass.

“It’s just David vs. Goliath.”

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