Hold Off A Couple Years On The Champagne? Wine Compromise Passes Tennessee Senate, En Route To The House

The amendment passed by the state Senate today would allow liquor stores to sell beer and other items, and let grocery stores sell wine in 2016 or 2017, pending approval in local referendums. (Photo: Andreea/flickr)

The amendment passed by the state Senate today would allow liquor stores to sell beer and other items, and let grocery stores sell wine in 2016 or 2017, pending approval in local referendums. (Photo: Andreea/flickr)

A proposal to let grocery stores sell wine in Tennessee is now within a few key votes of becoming law.  While many legislators are glad the measure is almost through, they say the compromise is not simple—and its effect will be a couple years out.

The measure passed the state Senate 23 to 8, and backers say the House could sign off in a matter of weeks.

Melissa Eads represents 122 Kroger stores in Tennessee.  The key has been a kind of trade: Let businesses like Kroger sell wine, and in return, for the first time, liquor stores can sell ice, chips, cigarettes, even beer.  That said, NO wine or liquor sales would be allowed on Sunday, even in a supermarket.

“It was all about finding that compromise,” Eads says. “It’s not perfect for any of us, but it gets Tennesseans what they’ve asked for, and what they want, to be able to purchase wine in retail food stores.”

A few details are still up in the air before the measure could pass the House—like just what kind of convenience stores can sell wine.  Even then, it will take local referendums and a couple years before wine makes it to grocery store shelves.

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