Senate Sends 'Wine In Grocery Stores' Bill To Governor

Posted at 10:14 PM, Mar 03, 2014
and last updated 2015-09-15 17:57:30-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Legislation allowing wine to be sold in Tennessee grocery stores is headed to the governor for his consideration.

The Senate on Monday approved minor changes made by the House when the lower chamber passed its version of the bill 71-15 in February.

The proposal would grant authority to cities and counties that have package stores or liquor-by-the-drink sales to hold referendums on whether to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.

"I knew I was getting bombarded my folks in my community and outside of my community all across the state just saying we want wine to be purchased in the grocery store and I said- well you should have the right to vote for that," said Republican Senator Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro.

It also allows local votes to take place as early as this fall but would not allow supermarket wine sales until July 2016 at the earliest.

"It's just kind of amazing to think where we've come and so much has changed in just this session and so quickly. so it's just great to see and exciting for al us retailers who've worked so hard on this," said Kroger Spokesperson Melissa Eads.

Republican Governor Bill Haslam has said he will sign the bill if it comes to his desk.

Under current law, supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can be sold only in package stores, which can't sell anything beyond booze and lottery tickets.

(AP/ NewsChannel 5)