Wine in grocery stores bill a talker before session begins

Wine in grocery stores bill a talker before session begins

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With the next legislative session less than a week away, a bill on where wine can be sold is already being talked about. With the next legislative session less than a week away, a bill on where wine can be sold is already being talked about.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - With the next legislative session less than a week away, a bill on where wine can be sold is already being talked about.

This time proposed legislation has the support of Speaker of the House Beth Harwell and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey.

Darrell Tipton owns Topside Wine and Spirits in Alcoa and says the proposed law that would allow wine in grocery stores goes much deeper than not making another stop on your way home.

"Number one, I think when you come to a wine store, you get advice, you get, I think, a larger selection, and the pricing, one of the things they try to make the argument on is the pricing may be better in the grocery store, but that's simply not the case," said Tipton.

Provisions that could allow Tipton to sell beer aren't enough to get his support for the proposed bill.

"Most of us have built the stores based on selling what we sell. There's some talk about letting us sell regular beer, accessory items, things of that nature. That's just not what we're geared to do," added Tipton.

State representative Ryan Haynes says this and other issues are some of the obstacles the bill faces.

"Liquor stores right now, they're only allowed to own one facility. Grocery stores obviously have numerous across the state, so that's a barrier that stands there," Rep. Haynes explained.

Wine buyers see both sides.

"First and foremost, it's on my way home. It's convenient, don't have to get in the crowd of grocery stores, say if it was there. I also like purchasing from local businesses and also the expertise and knowledge. I can always come in and ask if I'm looking for something in particular or if my wife is as well," said package store shopper Wes Harmon.   

"It would be very convenient for us. I love the selection they have, especially in the larger stores, they usually carry good brands and varieties, so I would love to see it," said grocery store shopper Sheila Locicero.

Kroger's Emily Ogden says she thinks part of the reason the measure is already a topic of conversation because of the work they've done in the legislative off-season.

The new legislative session starts next Tuesday.

The wine in grocery stores bill is being proposed by Bristol representative Jon Lundberg.

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