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Winter Olympics Tame Compared to Wine in Grocery Games in Tennessee
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Winter Olympics Tame Compared to Wine in Grocery Games in Tennessee

01.21.14
For Tennessee liquor stores, grocers, big box retailers and convenience stores, the 2014 Winter Olympics is a side show compared to the games playing out in the Tennessee General Assembly for wine in grocery stores.

After years of staunch opposition, David McMahan, the lobbyist for Tennessee retail liquor stores, was quoted in morning media as saying:

"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 ban at convenience stores and big-box retailers like Wal-Mart or Target."
 
Chas Sisk at the Tennessean covered the news here.  In our humble opinion, this is a huge step toward being able to buy wine in groceries.

A later story from Sisk suggests that there is no deal.  At least no deal the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association and the Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association want to publicly talk about.

We suspect today's media coverage was part of posturing for this year's debate on wine in grocery stores. For a summary of where things stand on the debate, check out our post here.

For years, we have speculated that when wine in grocery stores is ready to pass, the debate will turn to what kind of store can sell wine.  Selling flavored fortified wines like MD 20/20 and Ripple at convenience stores is going to be more controversial than selling Yellow Tail at Kroger.

Public marketing has targeted wine in grocery stores, but we understand that convenience stores have paid for a lot of the lobbying and marketing to pass the legislation.

1970s rocker Peter Frampton weighs in on the debate:

Woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand
Whose wine, what wine, where the hell did I dine?

We see today's news as being the first of many steps toward negotiating a wine in grocery store law that works best for liquor stores, groceries, convenience stores, big box retailers and wholesalers.

We often say that compromise means that no one gets what they wanted.  Wine in groceries will undoubtedly be a law that offends all parties.

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