Bill to allow wine sales in grocery stores fails for fifth straight year

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 3:00pm

The proposed state law to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores died in the legislature Wednesday for the fifth straight year.

The House State and Local Government Subcommittee rejected a compromise amendment and voted to kill the bill for this session by referring it to next year.

In an attempt to save his bill, Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, tried to amend it to leave it up to voters to decide whether to allow wine sales in grocery stores. Any city or county that already allows liquor by the drink could have held a referendum on wine sales under his amendment. But the subcommittee tabled it by a vote of 5-3.

Lundberg pointed to a study by the grocers association showing wine-in-groceries would create as many as 3,500 jobs and generate up to $38 million in taxes and license fees for local and state governments.

“This is a jobs bill,” Lundberg said. “What we’re doing is removing a state-mandated monopoly and keeping business from literally driving out of the state. Studies show this adds thousands of jobs. Polls show that, frankly, people in this state want this. Let people vote. If they have adopted liquor by the drink in their community, this allows wine in grocery stores to be voted on by the people who want this. The most important thing is, it’s the vote of the people. Let people decide where they want it and if they want it.”

Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, disputed Lundberg’s numbers and basically accused the wine industry of making them up.

“Folks in the grocery business are not going to hire new people,” Todd said. “Folks who now are going to the [wine] store to buy a bottle of wine are going to get the same bottle at the grocery store. It’s swapping out.”

A 2009 MTSU poll found that 62 percent of Tennesseans favored wine sales in food stores. But liquor retailers and wholesalers have opposed the bill, contending that it would hurt their business and increase access to alcohol by minors.

Under current law, only beer can be sold in supermarkets. Wine and liquor are restricted to the 563 licensed liquor stores in the state.

Filed under: City News

54 Comments on this post:

By: slacker on 4/13/11 at 4:33

That's shameful. The liquor lobby and thumpers strike again.

By: Nitzche on 4/13/11 at 4:53

In honor of Ray Blanton!! Tennessee Legislatureis the best!

By: Leazee on 4/13/11 at 8:33

Nothing changes in this two-bit state. While working in the state capital some thirty years ago, I learned that the most powerful man in the state was the Golden Goose -or so he was called. He was the Liquor lobby and he was the most feared and admired man on capital hill. Sadly, the legislature still lives in fear and admiration. Pathetic!

By: cannoneer2 on 4/13/11 at 11:12

How much money has Curry Todd taken in for doing the bidding of the liquor store owners?

By: house_of_pain on 4/14/11 at 5:39

When the time comes, we can say "no" to the Liquor Lobby Lapdogs.
Hope you enjoyed your time in office, fellas. Next!

By: govskeptic on 4/14/11 at 5:39

Score another for the long dominating Liquor Lobby-Led by the "Golden Goose".
The wholesalers are also to blame as they want nothing to do with their current
system of totally controlling the Pricing of liquor and wine in the state, nor having to deal with Volume buyers on pricing. This subcommittee didn't even have the
courage to take a vote by individual names on the main bill, reminder of Naifeh!
Score yet another victory for contributions, score another loss for consumers.

By: dargent7 on 4/14/11 at 5:40

Let's briefly re-cap:
A bill allowing loaded handguns (Glocks, Berettas, 30 clip magazines, ok), into bars, where you cannot drink (!), was vetoed twice by the Gov. It still passed.
A bill was passed allowing the shooting of sand cranes.
A bill allowing farmed deer to be shot (to control their population) was passed.
What other Einsteinian laws are before this august body waiting for their collective scrutiny?

By: gdiafante on 4/14/11 at 5:54

Does this surprise anyone, really?

The collective intelligence of the representatives in this state is equal to the number of goals the Preds scored last night.

Did any of the legislature blame Aqua Net?

By: HokeyPokey on 4/14/11 at 6:07

In other news: Subcommittee OKs bill allowing wine to be armed only in liquor stores...

HP

By: fdanshep on 4/14/11 at 6:12

I guess we need to close down every Walmart because they're out of Benton, AR. Close down every Walgreens because they're out of Deerfield, IL. The liquor industry says that passage of this bill will aid out of state grocery corporations and hurt the poor little liquor store owner. Boo Hoo! Every liquor family I know are very wealthy. Representative Williams who can't determine whether he is a Republican or Democrat pulled this bill off of the table. Hopefully his constituites will remember at the polls. Curry Todd is a bought man in my opinion. Again, hopefully the voters in his Shelby County District will let him go back to the police force or playing basketball or whatever.

By: Average Joe on 4/14/11 at 6:29

So our legislators are either incompetent in their duties or work for the liquor lobby? Which one is it? All due respect to Golden Goose (I went to school with his kids), times change and the voters should decide this issue.

By: jasonweaver on 4/14/11 at 7:12

The argument that selling wine in grocery stores gives greater access to minors is patently ridiculous. You can get just as drunk on beer. But because the state cracked down on carding, anyone who sells alcohol cards you regardless of age. Its a red herring argument they have.

By: house_of_pain on 4/14/11 at 7:22

I think "Red Herring" is the name of the wine being served to our legislators these days...

By: global_citizen on 4/14/11 at 7:27

This is pathetic. Our legislators fear and respect lobbyists much more than their constituents. This is clearly apparent. That being the case, it's time to vote them out and elect leaders who will actually put the people first.

By: lamons on 4/14/11 at 7:30

GreenHillsBoy
This is yet another example of how embarassing our legislators are to this state, yet the uneducated keep voting these yahoos in. They are completely controlled by the liquor lobby and yes it seems everyone that posts, reads or knows anything about how things really work in this state knows that the Golden Goose makes the laws on anything to do with liquor, not the pathetic members of the legislature. The polls are overwhelming and the arguments against laughable, yet it can't even get out of committee. I especially laugh at the argument that it would hurt the small business owners. If they are so concerned about the small business owners, where were they when Wal Mart put every small town jewelry,clothing, tire store, etc. out of business and Walgreen's, CVS etc. put the small mom and pop corner drug stores out of business. But when will enough people stand up and demand they not be bought. The wine issue is not the central concern here, it is the lack of accountability to the people not the lobbyists.

By: dargent7 on 4/14/11 at 8:03

Let's see: The people, 70%, did NOT want guns in bars, but it passed anyway.
The people, 65%, WANT wine to be sold in groceries, and it gets delayed for 5 years and counting.
44 states allow wine sales in groceries. Is Tenn. on some cutting edge? A pioneer in what's right?
And these "legislators" aren't even shameful, hide their guilt, or are embarrassed.

By: treefrogdk on 4/14/11 at 8:05

the same mentality is entrenched in every living legislator. it doesn't matter what "the people" think or want. from the sewers of the smallest municipality to the bowels of the federal gub'mint, regardless of party affiliation, all the pols care about are themselves and how they can profit. they don't even care about the legacy they leave behind.

By: JohnGalt on 4/14/11 at 8:21

The Golden Goose won again. There's no stopping him.

By: Magnum on 4/14/11 at 8:36

How do you find out who voted and how they voted?

By: Magnum on 4/14/11 at 8:41

The subcommittee tabled the amendment 5-3, then deferred the bill on an unrecorded group voice vote.

nevermind.

By: EquinsuOcha on 4/14/11 at 10:06

What's the big deal about buying your wine in a liquior store??.....are you wineos that lazy?.......Give the small business man some of your money every now and then. You don't have to give every penny to walmart........

By: TNSC on 4/14/11 at 10:22

There is no legitimate excuse to prevent grocers from selling wine except to reduce competition. This is a prime example of using legislation, not to protect the general welfare, but to treat one group of people differently from another group. Through a raw exercise of political power one group (liquor stores) gains an advantage in the marketplace over the other group (grocers).

By: Blip on 4/14/11 at 10:56

What a joke this state is.

By: Blip on 4/14/11 at 11:14

What are the names of the legislators who voted to table the amendment?????? What are the names of the legislators on the committee?

By: gdiafante on 4/14/11 at 12:54

"What's the big deal about buying your wine in a liquior store??.....are you wineos that lazy?.......Give the small business man some of your money every now and then. You don't have to give every penny to walmart........"

Someone give this twit a dictionary...

First, not everyone who drinks wine is a whino. Second, allowing wine in stores would not bankrupt liquor stores...as they are still the only place to get liquor and fine wines. For instance, Iowa sells wine in groceries and has thriving liquor stores. It's also planted firmly in the 21st century, unlike this state.

Third...the majority of people in Tennessee favor this bill.

Fourth, it's not up to you to determine where and how I spend my money.

By: Magnum on 4/14/11 at 1:31

I for one believe that, if passed, this bill would indeed increase access to alcohol for minors. I can't count the number of times my friends and I had someone over the age of 21 go to the store to buy us a couple of nice bottles of Cabernet. Oh right, we never did that because we all drank light beer back then. The closest anyone got to wine when we were underage was a wine cooler.

By: dargent7 on 4/14/11 at 2:50

I second that, gD...E-Ocha: This 'whino" label for drinking a classy beverage at lunch or dinner is ridiculous. If you want a Bud with your pizza, that's your choice.
because groceries sell beer and Mike's Hard Liquor, they should not be exempt for selling $8.99 to $10.99 btls of wine.
The liquor stores will always sell Dom Periogm, Crystal, all the champagnes, and all the hard liquors.
And the argument that "minors" will start drinking wine is the dumbest I've ever heard. They might start smoking, too. Then having sex before marriage. Become Mormons.

By: FredFlintstone on 4/15/11 at 3:57

Take a look at who voted against Wine in Grocery Stores. Those are the people who work for Horizon Liquer, the liquer and wine distributer for the state of Tennessee, instead of for us, their constituents. I will donate money and time to campaigne for anyone who runs against these crooks in the next election. I suggest you see if any of them are in your voting district, remember their names, call their office and tell them how you feel, and fire them at the next election.

By: richgoose on 4/15/11 at 4:36

If there is a more powerful lobby group in this city or for that matter anywhere in the country than the lobby paid for by the wholesale and retail liquor industry here in Nashville I would not have clue who and where it may be.

By: govskeptic on 4/15/11 at 6:41

"Jobs Bill" is the least of what this is all about. Losses by one store would probably
be picked up at another-so a wash at the worst. One thing for certain is: it would
have been a Revenue enhancement for state sales tax. Sales volume would have
definitely increased as shown by 5 different studies. Continued heavy political
donations being received by the leadership of both parties is why this is again
put on hold-make no mistake about that! At&T, Wholesale Liquor Assoc, and Tenn
Trial Lawyers Assoc. have had their way with the Legislature for more yrs than one
wishes to even think about.

By: Moonglow1 on 4/15/11 at 6:58

Moonglow1: too bad. With the extreme right wing Republican tea party in power led by the governor we need accessibility to fine wines & other spirits more than ever. However since these Republicans are so focused on everything but jobs as evidenced by intellectual discussions regarding climate change & Aqua Net (Sheila Butts R-Columbia), people without jobs have no money for wine. This is also because the Republicans continue to ram ideology down our throats. Instead we should be swallowing fine wine accessible at a grocery store rather than tasting the bitter horrible fruit of deceit rammed down our throats by the right wing nuts.

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 8:13

For those who continue to put Nashville and Tennessee down, do us all a favor and move.

By: Radix on 4/15/11 at 8:40

Moonglow you are absolutely hilarious. So stinking funny, I can predict your posts before you make them. Hypocritical talking points all day long...

I am as Tea Party as anyone, and its ridiculous not to allow wine in the grocery store. Call your rep and let them know how you feel. Get enough signatures and get a referendum. The problem in Tennessee is the grip by the old boys network. You see it in everything, public works, smoking in restaurants... stop wasting your time on trying to link these people with 'evil conservatism'... LOL

By: drinkcan on 4/15/11 at 8:42

The people speak and yet, their elected officials continue not to listen.

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 8:57

I'm not sure the people have spoken since there was not a vote. Just because you hear people on the radio and see messages on forums does not mean the majority want wine in liquor stores. I remember when the Oilers deal was being debated, if you believed the callers and posters you would have thought the "No' people were going to get there way, but thank goodness that turned out to be just the opposite. There are a lot more people who don't drink any alcohol than you think and do not want another alcoholic beverage in grocery stores. I'm not saying it wouldn't pass, but I'm not saying it would either.

By: TNCruzer on 4/15/11 at 9:15

Five legislators in the House State & Local subcommittee voted to kill an amendment that would have allowed localities to vote on wine in food stores. Those five were:
• Rep. Kent Williams (R-Elizabethton)
• Rep. Curry Todd (R-Collierville), chairman of the House State & Local Committee
• Rep. Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville)
• Rep. Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory)
• Rep. Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville), chairman of the House State & Local Subcommittee
Those supporting the amendment were:
• Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga)
• Rep. Jim Cobb (R-Spring City)
• Rep. Tommie Brown (D-Chattanooga)

Contact them and let em know how you feel. I did.

By: TNCruzer on 4/15/11 at 9:16

Please support Red, White and Food

By: TNCruzer on 4/15/11 at 9:24

Titan1
Read the facts:
An MTSU poll found that 62 percent of Tennesseans support selling wine in grocery stores in areas that already allow the sales of alcoholic beverages, as compared to 26 percent who oppose sales.

Full details at mtsurveygroup.org:

Support remains high for letting food stores sell wine
(Contact: Ken Blake, 615.210.6187)
Sixty-nine percent of Tennesseans say a store that sells food should also be allowed to sell wine, provided the store is located in a place that allows the sale of alcoholic beverages. Seventeen percent say they oppose letting food stores sell wine, and another 13 percent are undecided. The rest decline to answer.
In the Spring 2009 MTSU Poll, by contrast, 62 percent of Tennesseans supported letting grocery stores sell wine, 26 percent were opposed, and 12 percent didn’t know. Thus, support for selling wine in food stores may have edged upward since 2009, although the change is within the overlap of the two polls’ error margins.
The current poll found no statistically significant difference between the results of a question asking about wine sales only in “grocery stores” (70 percent support) and a random alternative asking about wine sales in “grocery, convenience and other stores that sell food” (69 percent support).
Support was highest among politically conservative males, political moderates and liberals in Davidson and its contiguous counties who attend worship services at least occasionally, and political moderates and liberals who seldom or never attend church.

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 9:36

Not a vote.

By: TNCruzer on 4/15/11 at 9:38

Then let us vote!!!

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 9:48

Not my decision.

By: richgoose on 4/15/11 at 10:06

Titan1.......Are you babbling again? You should "turn the other cheek" Is that not what you were taught?

By: house_of_pain on 4/15/11 at 11:14

Personally, I don't know 1 person that would oppose an overhaul of our seriously outdated liquor laws, this issue included.
The "no beer sales before noon on Sundays" needs to be scrapped. That one makes absolutely no sense.

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 11:27

frankbrown/richgoose, I know you like to think you are smarter and better than everyone else, but I hate to break the news to you, you are the only one who believes that.

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 11:48

You can but beer just across the line in LaVergne anytime. It wouldn't bother me to see all alcoholic beverages sold only in liquor stores.

By: TITAN1 on 4/15/11 at 12:23

Of course I meant 'buy' beer.

By: EquinsuOcha on 4/15/11 at 1:14

By: gdiafante on 4/14/11 at 1:54
"What's the big deal about buying your wine in a liquior store??.....are you wineos that lazy?.......Give the small business man some of your money every now and then. You don't have to give every penny to walmart........"

Someone give this twit a dictionary...

First, not everyone who drinks wine is a whino. Second, allowing wine in stores would not bankrupt liquor stores...as they are still the only place to get liquor and fine wines. For instance, Iowa sells wine in groceries and has thriving liquor stores. It's also planted firmly in the 21st century, unlike this state.

Third...the majority of people in Tennessee favor this bill.

Fourth, it's not up to you to determine where and how I spend my money.

WRONG you LIbtard .....If you want to buy wine you still have to buy it from a liquior store and since I called my congressman and informed him of my wishes it seems that i did determine where you spend your money.......LMAO

By: EquinsuOcha on 4/15/11 at 1:20

gdiafante and D7 ,you are welcome to move to Iowa and take your libtard ideas with ya......

By: EquinsuOcha on 4/15/11 at 1:48

By: gdiafante on 4/14/11 at 1:54
"What's the big deal about buying your wine in a liquior store??.....are you wineos that lazy?.......Give the small business man some of your money every now and then. You don't have to give every penny to walmart........"

Someone give this twit a dictionary...

First, not everyone who drinks wine is a whino. Second, allowing wine in stores would not bankrupt liquor stores...as they are still the only place to get liquor and fine wines. For instance, Iowa sells wine in groceries and has thriving liquor stores. It's also planted firmly in the 21st century, unlike this state.

Third...the majority of people in Tennessee favor this bill.

Fourth, it's not up to you to determine where and how I spend my money.

You're the twit that needs a dictionary....There's no such word as whino....idiot...

By: Moonglow1 on 4/15/11 at 6:51

Moonglow1: Radix- just as the Republicans continue to disparage Al Gore, I will continue to point out the stupidity of our Republican legislators. Each day brings ridiculous comments from them. If you are tea party surely you cringe when you hear their arguments-yeah, yeah, we hate science, free Aqua Net, etc. Jon Stewart could make millions hanging out in TN because each day brings more fodder for good liberal loving comedy.