Push To Let Grocery Stores Sell Wine Passes Two Tennessee House Committees

Under the proposal, grocery stories wouldn't be able to start selling wine until 2016, at the earliest. (Photo: Paulo Garbarino, via flickr)

Under the proposal, grocery stories wouldn’t be able to start selling wine until 2016, at the earliest. (Paulo Garbarino/flickr)

A legislative push to allow wine sales in Tennessee grocery stores has been revived and is moving quickly. The compromise revealed Tuesday would let liquor stores sell other items like corkscrews and ice, while leaving the decision to allow wine sales up to local referendums.

The proposal has been split into two pieces, which backers say will probably be put together at some point. Both made it past committee votes with comfortable margins Tuesday, despite some objections from lawmakers like Kent Williams, who exclaimed at one point, “I’m not a hypocrite—I drink a cold beer, and I love a cold beer!”

While acknowledging he was outnumbered, an emotional Williams argued making wine more accessible could be dangerous, and will put family-owned liquor stores out of business.

“Because the next step, I guarantee you, will be to put full alcoholic beverages in Wal-Marts, convenience stores, gas stations—anywhere you want to put it.  And that’s not a good thing for society, I’m sorry.”

A version of the proposal is scheduled for a vote in the state Senate Thursday.

EARLIER TUESDAY: A Fluid Situation: Wine-In-Groceries Proposal Moving In Tennessee House


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