March 25, 2009
Dear Representative Pruitt,
I noticed in an article in Tennessean published on March 20th that you are listed as one of the legislators who are undecided as to how you will vote on the bill to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores. As one of your constituents, I am disappointed and am writing you to urge you to vote in favor of this bill.
Thirty-three other states allow the sale of wine in grocery stores, but not Tennessee. Frankly, I find this embarrassing. There is no logic in denying us this right that is enjoyed by the citizens of most other states. I want the convenience of being able to pick up a bottle of wine when I shop for dinner. As a consumer I would like to benefit from the lower prices that would result from the increased competition.
I know that the argument against it is that it would increase the likelihood of alcohol use by underage drinkers. This is bogus argument. We already have a mandatory proof of age law for anyone purchasing alcoholic beverages. There is no evidence that selling wine in retail food outlets would increase underage drinking.
Another argument against it is that some of the “ma and pa” liquor stores would be driven out of business. Businesses come and go all the time as new products develop and new ways of marketing emerge. A few years ago there were lots of video stores. As, new methods of distribution of movies developed many video stores disappeared. Should we have banned NetFics? It should not be the job of government to protect businesses from competition. In any event, it is not necessarily proven that sale of wine in grocery stores would undermine liquor stores. As more people experienced the pleasure of wine, a more sophisticated and knowledgably wine drinking public may emerge. People would probably still go to liquor stores to buy fine wine. Making wine more available my actually increase the market for wine.
Allowing the sale of wine in grocery a store is estimated in bring in an additional $16 million dollars in state revenue and $11 million for local governments. At a time of budget shortfalls, it makes sense to tap this source of additional revenue.
I am writing this as an open letter and am posting it on my blog and other social networking sites and am copying friends and family. I will also post your replay.
Thank you for your consideration and your service to our community.