Tennesseans wanting to buy wine in grocery stores will have to wait until at least 2009 as a bill today appears likely not to pass this year.
Today, the proposal received an extremely chilly reception in the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
Despite being sponsored by the committee’s chairman, the bill barely received a second vote necessary for further discussion.
Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), the chairman of the panel and sponsor of the bill, delayed a vote on the measure and said it was likely headed to a study committee.
Jarron Springer, the president of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, said state “voters have to speak up” to bring more lawmakers on board his organization’s effort.
“This is about consumer choice for us,” Springer said.
Liquor storeowners testified against the bill, which is also opposed by liquor wholesalers.
Chip Christianson, the president of the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association, said allowing wine sales in grocery stores would benefit large companies like Kroger and Wal-Mart and hurt Tennessee’s small businessmen.
“I can absolutely guarantee you we will lose employees,” Christianson said.
A vote on another measure that would allow Internet wine sales was delayed.
For more on this story, see Wednesday’s The City Paper.