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Liquor stores afraid of the competition grocery wine sales would cause

Staff Report • Mar 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

It's a grass-roots campaign. It's Astroturf activism. It's a clash of lobbying titans. It's an issue of consumer rights, or religious freedom, or public safety, or jobs, or tax revenues.According to the Tennessean, those are the buzzwords in the fight over whether Tennessee grocery stores should be allowed to sell wine, which for the third time in three years heads back to the legislature on Tuesday.On one side is the state grocer's lobby. On the other is the state's mighty liquor lobby, which has enjoyed a lock on retail wine sales in this state since the repeal of Prohibition.Both have launched full-bore campaigns, hoping to win over the public and undecided lawmakers. Both have circulated petitions: 11,000 signatures for wine in the grocery stores, 9,000 against.But behind the slick marketing campaigns are genuine grass-roots emotions, and some very real hopes and fears. And the people most afraid right now may be Tennessee's 550 wine and liquor retailers, who worry what competition with national grocery and retail chains could mean for their business.CLICK HERE for the full report.

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