Tennessee is the latest state to debate selling wine at grocery stores. And it would appear the movement is gaining steam-25,000 Tennesseans have now registered with the “Red, White and Food” campaign to try and make it happen, Eyewitness News reported.
Jarron Springer, president of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, told Eyewitness News, “This polls very well. The majority of Tennesseans want to see a change.”
Owners of retail liquor stores, as one might expect, are not among those cheering the movement. “You could imagine what would happen to our foot traffic. Not only that, I wouldn’t be in a position to even compete with the big box retailers,” Josh Hammond, the president of the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Association, told Eyewitness News.
For the grocers and liquor store owners, money is the main issue, while customers, who already can buy beer at grocery stores, want one-stop shopping for their beverage needs.
“Wine in food stores is an important issue to the food industry because it’s a consumer driven issue. It’s something they’d like to have at our stores,” noted Springer, who added that selling wine in grocery stores could bring in $20 million in tax revenues to state and local governments. But Hammond argues the move would increase alcohol taxes by 50%.
The state legislature will pick up the issue when it is back in session in January.