Dear Red White and Food Members,
Yesterday was a great day for the wine in retail food stores campaign.
Members of the House Local Government Committee voted to pass the bill. The bill was amended during the committee meeting to be solely about the referendum to give communities that already allow liquor-by-the-drink and/or retail package stores the right to vote on wine sales.
The House State Government Committee also passed a bill, adding amendments during the meeting to include items that have been agreed on by retail food stores and liquor stores, such as liquor stores' ability to sell additional merchandise.
These are huge wins for Tennesseans, and we hope the momentum continues tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Senate.
The wine legislation will be put to a vote on the Senate floor tomorrow, Jan. 30. If you have not already done so, please take the time to email your senator and encourage him or her to vote YES on the wine in retail food stores bill. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is! Click the link below to easily draft and send an email to your senator.
The Red White and Food Team
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My Comment: I am extremely pleased to us get this close to having wine in grocery stores. While I hope it passes, this is not a perfect bill. In some ways, it is a very distasteful bill. It still bans Sunday wine sales. Why? You can buy beer on Sunday. Why not wine. I know why. It is politics. It is a deal to put together to get enough votes to get the bill passed.
Another thing wrong with this bill is that it mandates a 20 percent markup over wholesale price. What? Yes, a retailer can not set his own price. I am not sure how this will effect the big-box stores like Costco and Sam's Club that have their own supply chains rather than use local whole sellers. Will they be required to use whole sellers? I don't know. If so, and they must have a 20% markup, then we will not get the benefit of lower prices.
Mandating a minimum price or a minimum markup is to protect some providers of a product or service from competition. That is wrong. Whether it is requiring Black Sedans to charge a $45 minimum for a fare or requiring a store to mark their wine up by 20% it is price-fixing and it is not to benefit the consumer but it is to screw the consumer to benefit the politically connected. My celebration of wine in groceries will be tempered by the anti-free market component of the bill which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.