Friday, March 7, 2008

TN Grocers Launch Campaign for Wine Sales


NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 5, 2008 - The Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association today launched Red White and Food, a grassroots campaign to educate Tennesseans about wine sales in retail food stores, and proposed legislation creating a new license for the sale of wine in these stores.

"Red White and Food is a campaign about choosing wine sales in Tennessee retail food stores," TGCSA President Jarron Springer said. "Consumers benefit from convenience and competition that keeps prices down. Retailers benefit by responding to a customer demand and increasing their own competitiveness in a highly competitive market."

Thirty-three other states currently allow wine sales in retail food stores, including five of the eight states that border Tennessee. Other supporters of the Red White and Food campaign include the Tennessee Farm Wineries, Tennessee Retail Association and The Wine Institute.

Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Randy Rinks introduced a bill (SB3139/HB3451) at the beginning of the legislative session. They will introduce an amendment defining a new license that allows retail food stores to sell wine. The proposed legislation would allow wine sales only in municipalities that currently allow package sales.

"We are only pursuing this option where wine sales are legal today," Springer said. "This legislation does not allow every retail food store in the state to sell wine."

The proposed legislation also does not change the current three-tier system for wine distribution in Tennessee. Last year, the grocery and convenience store industry spearheaded the Responsible Vendor Law, which requires mandatory carding for all beer sales. The industry would apply the same standards to any wine sales. "Many retailers have told us the Responsible Vendor Law is the best thing we could have done to help prevent alcohol sales to minors," Springer said. Tennessee residents who want to learn more or get involved with the Red White and Food campaign can visit http://www.redwhiteandfood.com/.

Comment: It is about damn time! I would like to be able to pick up a bottle of wine at the grocery store like one can do in most other states of the union and most civilized places in the world. Given the power of the liquor lobby and the Baptist here in Tennessee this will be an up hill battle. The legendary Tennessee liquor lobbyist Tom "Golden Goose" Hensley is probably on the phone at this minute pledging campaign contributions and Baptist ministers are calling their legislators and talking about the evils of alcohol. Don't bother explaining to a Baptist that since man came out of caves they have been drinking wine with meals. You do know, that at the wedding feast of Canaan, Jesus really turned the water into grape juice.
Please go to the link in the story above and follow the directions for contacting your state legislator. In order for this to pass, members of the legislature need to hear from their constituents.

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