By: Courtney Brice
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)- Tennessean’s have been long awaiting the ability to buy wine in grocery stores, and their wait may come to an end if a bill is passed.
“The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Jon Lundberg, would allow cities and counties to hold referendums on whether to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores,” according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Several Tennessee residents have been wanting wine to be sold in grocery stores for a while. Chattanooga resident Merrile Stroud exclaimed, “I would love it!”
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Present Tennessee law limits wine sales to package stores, where liquor is sold. Beer is sold only at grocery and convenience stores.”
Thirty-three states currently allow wine sales in grocery stores, including Georgia. Stroud explained that by allowing this bill to be passed, “it would create revenue for Tennessee because many Chattanoogan’s go to Fort Oglethorpe, GA because they can buy wine at Costco.”
Former grocery store manager and Chattanooga resident Cameron Wallace, explained that, “Selling wine would be okay because stores already allow beer, so as long as it isn’t hard liquor then it would be perfectly acceptable.”
“Opponents say the change would adversely affect the about 600 existing liquor stores around the state. They also raise concerns about higher-proof alcohol becoming more widely available to minors,” according to the Associated Press.
The concern of carding customers has risen although grocery stores already card for beer sales. Wallace explains that the addition of wine should not be a problem in causing an increase of underage drinking because, “if they really want it, they will get it regardless.”
Although the bill is still being debated, many Tennessean’s are crossing their fingers that it will be passed.