Wine Sales In Supermarkets Bill Passes TN Senate Vote

Reported by: Webb Wright
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Updated: 1/31 9:42 am
      Supermarket wine sales passed one major hurdle after a 23-8 Tennessee senate vote approved one version of the measure.
      "I understand everyone's perspective on it, but it is a win for the consumers to have more choices and the convenience in getting wine in grocery stores," says Gavin Thomas, co-owner of Enzo's Market.
       A companion measure still must be pushed through the house, and if passed the law would not go into effect until July 1st 2016. But the measure is an early victory for grocery stores and markets.
      "It actually opens up marketing opportunities to sell wine in the grocery stores and not have a separate business for it and vice versa, allows us to sell things in the wine store that we are currently prohibited from selling," adds Thomas.
      Small, locally owned liquor stores could feel the sting, with some opting for the one stop shopping supermarket sales would provide.
      "It will definitely affect some of the smaller stores in town, your mom and pop stores rely on those big box grocery store brands to sustain their business. You see a lot more of the small businesses react to this legislation. That's something that everyone is dealing with and we all have to see that bill being passed," said David Matheney, Sales Associate for Riverside Beverage Company.
      Analysts estimate the bill would generate 7.5 million dollars a year in new revenue. There would be no wine sales on Sunday, and supermarkets would have to mark up their wine prices at least 20 percent over wholesale.
      "It keeps it competitive with the wholesale markets, the supermarkets and ourselves. It is not putting us at a disadvantage by keeping the markups fair and regulated," said Thomas.
      "I think that's a fair to put in there right now just as that protection so they don't get undermined on cost alone as being the sole driver of having wine in the store," added Matheney.
      The House Finance Committee will now take up the legislation, as they review its projected impact on the state budget.
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