Tennessee liquor stores to start selling beer and mixers

Tennessee liquor stores to start selling beer and mixers

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McScrooge’s Wine & Spirits on North Peters Road in Knoxville told 6 News it received the largest shipment of beer in Tennessee Tuesday morning McScrooge’s Wine & Spirits on North Peters Road in Knoxville told 6 News it received the largest shipment of beer in Tennessee Tuesday morning
Until July 1, the store was limited to selling high gravity beer, but Tuesday employees were handing signs letting customers know they now offer all kinds of beer. Until July 1, the store was limited to selling high gravity beer, but Tuesday employees were handing signs letting customers know they now offer all kinds of beer.
“Not only do I believe that it will offset the loss that we'll have from wine sales, but I believe that it is the path forward to the future that's going to allow us to grow," Brent Barnett said. “Not only do I believe that it will offset the loss that we'll have from wine sales, but I believe that it is the path forward to the future that's going to allow us to grow," Brent Barnett said.
The Red, White and Food campaign is setting up in grocery stores like Food City on Morrell Road looking for signatures. The Red, White and Food campaign is setting up in grocery stores like Food City on Morrell Road looking for signatures.
By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Tuesday was the first day liquor stores in Tennessee could start selling beer and mixers along with several other non-alcoholic items.

It’s part of a new law passed this legislative session which allows cities and counties to hold referendums on whether grocery stores can sell wine.

As part of the new law, liquor stores can expand their inventory.

McScrooge’s Wine & Spirits on North Peters Road in Knoxville told 6 News it received the largest shipment of beer in Tennessee Tuesday morning.

"We took in over 1,200 cases. We have about 500 cases coming tomorrow," general manager Brent Barnett said.

Barnett said the store has been making room for the beer for months.

Until July 1, the store was limited to selling high gravity beer, but Tuesday employees were handing signs letting customers know they now offer all kinds of beer.

“Not only do I believe that it will offset the loss that we'll have from wine sales, but I believe that it is the path forward to the future that's going to allow us to grow," Barnett said.

Push for referendum

While Barnett prepares his store for the new inventory, proponents of wine in grocery stores are gearing up for the next general election.

The Red, White and Food campaign is setting up in grocery stores like Food City on Morrell Road looking for signatures to bring a referendum to different cities and counties so that voters can decide whether grocery stores will stock their shelves with wine.

Related story: Knoxville grocery stores begin petition drive to bring wine sales to local referendum vote

"Our customers want it,” Food City Executive Vice President John Jones said. “Wine goes with food and over 70 percent of our customers tell us they want to be able to purchase wine with groceries."

Knoxville resident James Ellis signed his name to the petition Tuesday.

“It means I can do absolutely everything here,” Ellis said. “I can get my food, my beer and my wine."

Several liquor stores told 6 News they’re worried about the loss of wine sales if a referendum passes but Barnett said he believes the compromises included in the new law can end up helping his business.

“At the end of the day, we realized that the best way for us to survive moving forward is going to be to find a compromise," Barnett said.

In order for a referendum on selling wine in grocery stores to happen in Knox County, 6,420 signatures are needed.

In the city of Knoxville, 3,377 signatures are needed and 782 signatures are needed in Farragut.

The petitions must be submitted by Aug. 21.

Jones said that Loudon, Clinton, Morristown and Newport already have enough signatures needed to bring a referendum.

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