Bill Would Allow 7-Day Wine, Liquor Sales In Tenn.

Posted at 1:00 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 22:26:23-05

A bill that would allow wine and liquor to be sold seven days a week in Tennessee has advanced in two committees.

Under the current law, retailers have been limited to selling wine and liquor Monday through Saturday, and are not allowed to sell them on Sundays and certain holidays.

Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), one of the bill’s sponsor, said that puts local retailers at a disadvantage.

“This legislation is about supporting small retail businesses across Tennessee and allowing them to make the best decisions they can to succeed while creating a higher level of convenience and customer service for consumers,” Sen. Ketron said.

According to Ketron, 40 states allow for seven-day sales by retailers – five of those border Tennessee.

The legislation would allow retail businesses to open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

Stores would have the option whether or not to open seven days a week.

"As a retailer, you have to give customers what they're looking for. I don't know why you wouldn't be open on a Sunday," Village Wines Manager Virgil Statom told NewsChannel 5.

Statom said it would be a learning curve having to add an extra day, but it would be a small hurdle if the return means more money.

He added that the law allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores also helped open the doors for the current proposed bill.

"Everybody knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time," Statom said.

HB1540 passed the House State Government Committee and the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday -- both considered big hurdles to pass, according to supporters.

Representative Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) is the other sponsor and said he's fairly confident it will pass.

"We look forward soon to a time when someone can go into the store on a Sunday and buy their groceries and buy wine in the store, and that day is coming very soon," McCormick said.

If passed, liquor stores would be able to sell on Sunday as soon as it's signed into law. Grocery stores would follow by January 2019.

According to the fiscal memorandum, the legislation would bring in more than $2 million in state revenue.