Liquor stores have blocked past attempts to break up their virtual monopoly on wine.
This year’s proposal allows for a local referendum. And Senator Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro says voters can decide if they want wine more widely available. He says liquor stores have been unwilling to talk about middle ground because they’ve been so successful at keeping the status quo.
“Over the last several years, we’ve looked at our complicated and archaic laws of alcohol in Tennessee, and they like it just the way it is. They don’t want it changed. We’re willing to sit down and talk to them, but they’re not willing to come to the table.”
Sponsors of the bill allowing a referendum on wine in supermarkets say they would consider also letting liquor stores sell more than just alcohol.
Lobbyists for the state’s 600 liquor stores call the legislation “a ploy by out-of-state corporations,” referring to companies like Kroger and Walmart.
Tennessee is one of more than a dozen states that currently has some sort of law prohibiting the sale of wine in retail food stores.