Grocery wine bill negotiations near breakthrough

Grocery wine bill negotiations near breakthrough

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By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) - After years of bitter legislative fights over efforts to allow Tennessee grocery stores to sell wine, groups representing liquor stores and supermarkets are nearing an agreement that would give the measure its best ever chances of becoming law.

David McMahan, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, tells The Associated Press that the two sides are "very, very close" on a deal that would allow cities and counties to vote on whether to allow wine sales in supermarkets. But the measure would maintain the current ban at convenience stores and big box retailers like Wal-Mart.

Under current law, supermarkets and convenience stores can't sell anything stronger than beer containing 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can only be sold in liquor stores.

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