Knoxville grocery store clerks train to sell wine

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – July 1 wine can be sold in grocery stores in East Tennessee.

With the deadline quickly approaching, grocers are busy trying to get state approved training to be able to legally sell the wine. TopShelf is doing thousands of training sessions to get grocery stores prepared.

TopShelf is the first company in Tennessee certified to teach responsible wine vendor training programs.

“It is all state required. The state oversees and they approve any training materials. They approve trainers. They audit classes,” said the president of TopShelf, Kim Pouncey. She has to train more than 8,000 Kroger employees by the end of April.

It is education the state requires all grocers selling wine to take part in. Clerks and some managers are required to get the training.

“We focus very heavily on sales to minors. How to properly check IDs and how to make sure you get IDs in your hand and look at them instead of letting people hold them up and give you your date of birth and some of the things minors do to try and purchase alcohol,” said Pouncey.

The clerks and managers are also taught to identify someone who is intoxicated and not sell to them. “You talk to them about how to spot situations and how to safely deal with those kinds of people,” said Pouncey.

WATE 6 On Your Side called Kroger’s corporate office and asked about the importance of the training. WATE was told to call the president of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, Rob Ikard. Kroger is a member of this association.

Ikard said “Alcohol is a dangerous and highly regulated product, and Tennessee’s grocers are committed to offering this new category in a cautious and responsible manner.”

Pouncey also says they train grocery store clerks to card everyone who looks younger than 50. Pouncy said if a grocer is not trained within 61 days of receiving their license to sell they could be fined.

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