A longstanding issue on Tennessee’s agenda was finally settled last Tuesday, November 4th, when voters took to the ballots for Election Day 2014. A compromise bill between grocery and retail liquor stores was passed statewide allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores, and beer, mixers, tobacco and food can now all be sold by retailers along with liquor and wine.
Although it won’t take effect until July of 2016, there is already speculation about the negative effects that could potentially follow.
On first thought, wine being sold in grocery stores seems like a no-brainer. At some point or another, we all have to go shopping for food. Besides wine’s many uses for cooking, many people pair it with their meals.
There are several reasons why this bill is logical—the most obvious being that it makes the purchase of wine even more painless. However, there are many expected downfalls to the newly passed legislation that aren’t so obvious.
Larger companies such as Kroger and Publix that support the movement will be given an opportunity to increase their already substantial profit margin. This change in law will draw business away from smaller, family-owned liquor stores that partially rely on wine sales to stay in business.
Previously, liquor store owners were limited to the ownership of only one store in the state of Tennessee. Bundle purchases, which are made by partnering with other stores, weren’t allowed either, making it difficult to earn substantial profits through alcohol sales.These restrictions are something that change as a result of the compromise.
This allowance is one of only a few ways smaller stores could benefit from the new wine bill.
Another factor is that liquor stores aren’t open on Sundays. This will be an advantage for the grocery stores, because they remain open every day, some even twenty-four hours a day. However, certain limits to how late alcohol can be purchased will prevent the grocery stores from selling beyond these times.
Still, with an extra day of the weekend to sell wine, grocery stores will heavily be reaping the benefits. Smaller liquor retail shops will in turn lose tons of business and more than likely be forced to make unwanted changes to their operations.
After all, beer and other common alcoholic products are available at every gas station (of course, only with a valid ID proving the buyer is at least twenty-one). To me, it’s more than obvious that the lines aren’t drawn clearly. If the new bill is intended to clear up some of these discrepancies, it will be interesting to see the new details that are blurred as a result.
Regardless, at the next store you visit, keep in mind who will profit from your alcohol purchases. Do they really need it?