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Murfreesboro collects required number of valid signatures for wine ballot initiative

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Murfreesboro, Tenn., has collected the required number of valid signatures on a petition to determine whether wine can be sold in retail food stores in that community.

The Rutherford County Election Commission notified Red White and Food that the required number of signatures have been turned in. Registered voters in Murfreesboro will be able to vote on the sale of wine in retail food stores.

“Residents of Murfreesboro have been very supportive of the campaign to allow wine sales in Tennessee’s retail food stores,” said Susie Alcorn, Red White and Food campaign manager. “We are grateful to all of the citizens of Murfreesboro who took the time to sign the petition. This is a tremendous achievement.”

To get the wine referendum on the ballot, eligible communities – those that already allow liquor-by-the-drink, liquor stores or both – must submit these petitions to the local election commission with at least as many signatures as would equal 10 percent of their residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election. The petitions must be completed and verified by the local election commissions by Aug. 21.

Red White and Food is working with retail partners – including BI-LO, Cash Saver, Food City, Food Lion, H.G. Hill, Kroger, Publix and Superlo Foods – to facilitate the petition drive in eligible communities across the state.

Red White and Food is a coalition of 30,000-plus Tennesseans who want to purchase wine where they shop for food. Initially founded by the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association, Red White and Food is now an independent 501(c)(6) organization that has the support of the state’s retail food stores. For more information about the wine in retail food stores campaign, please visit www.redwhiteandfood.com.

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Members Opinions:
August 02, 2014 at 6:57pm
In terms of making progress towards being a more forward-thinking state, I think this is a step in the right direction for Tennessee. Tennessee’s current liquor laws are at a strange place in between restrictive and progressive. You can purchase beer in grocery stores, but only up to the arbitrary ABV cut-off of 6.3%. This seems strange to me. At least this law change starts to move away from random restrictions such as that.

Unfortunately, I still think even with this change in law, Tennessee will still be at a weird inbetween point. Are you a person who loves drinking big-brand, value-oriented wine such as Barefoot, Sutter Home, Yellow Tail, Franzia, etc. and absolutely hates driving to the liquor store to get it? That’s perfect then, this law change is for you. However, if you are a person who likes a variety of different wines, at varying price points, this law change will likely be to your disadvantage.

Liquor stores that carry a wide selection of different wines rely on the sales of those major brands, so they have the opportunity to carry a unique inventory. With those sales likely going to grocery stores, it’s possible that some area liquor stores will close. This means that selection will suffer. It won’t happen immediately, but after the law has been in effect for a couple years, it seems like a likely possibility. Perhaps Kroger and Publix will carry an expansive enough selection to make up for it. Or maybe liquor stores will compensate for lost wine sales by selling enough food items. However it happens, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming years!
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