Wine in Grocery Stores

The poor folks at Red, White, and Food are still having to agitate for wine in grocery stores. Yes, that’s right. In Tennessee, you cannot walk into a grocery store and pick up, say, a loaf of french bread, some wine, and a bouquet of cheesy flowers on your way to your sweetie’s house.

No, I am not even kidding you.

We can’t buy wine in grocery stores.

This, I have to tell you, is one of the things that strikes me funniest about Tennesseans. They will raise stinks to high heavens about freedoms and protecting our freedoms and meeting the feds at the state line to protect us from socialism, but, if a group of pastors says that having wine in grocery stores is a bad idea, well, then let’s not get too carried away with this freedom stuff. And we’re all for the free market, but, if it might upset the liquor store lobby, maybe we do need to block wine sales in grocery stores just to make things easier for our lobbyist buddies.

So, anyway, wine in grocery stores. Let’s do it for FREEDOM!!!! Or something.

I mean, this is going to happen. Why drag it out any longer?

15 thoughts on “Wine in Grocery Stores

  1. I don’t mean to play the Wine Suppression Olympics with you, but I do have to point out that in Pennsylvania you can only buy wine or spirits in state-run Wine & Spirits stores (so when I put booze on my credit card, it shows up on my balance as “government services”). If you want beer, you must go to a beer distributor and buy by the case. (Unless you live near a specially licensed convenience store, who might carry six-packs but pays dearly for it.)

    In our case, obviously the state benefits from the revenue so they are disinclined to change it. I’m not sure what the benefit of restrictions in TN would be, or why beer seems to always be differentiated from wine and/or spirits.

    One more story: I stopped at a gas station in MS once to buy beer to drink while tube down a lazy river. The station also had Jack & Coke in a can, which was tempting. But we could not buy it! Because it was Sunday!
    We could buy the beer, though.

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  3. Well, a minor correction: it’s not a group of pastors saying we can’t have wine in grocery stores but a very powerful liquor lobby that enjoys their monopoly and doesn’t want competition from big retailers like CostCo and the massive Kroger chain.

    It’s always about the money. No one gives a shit about pastors. They’re just a convenient tool, as always.

  4. Yeah, Pennsylvania is really wacky. I pulled off the interstate in Wilke-Barre to pick up some beer on the way home, and ended up having to buy a case of beer from one of the official distributers.

  5. tanglethis: as an ex-pat Mississippian, I’m happy to report that the no beer on Sunday thing is becoming a thing of the past. Liquor of course, that’s a whole other thing.

    My favorite bullshit blue law was the one in Starkville, MS, home of Mississippi State: No cold beer. The law hinged on the notion that if there was cold beer in a store, a college student would get in the car and immediately pop the top and drink and drive. Because of this antiquated piece of legislation, in order to get a cold one, you had to DRIVE to the bar.

  6. tanglethis–but it’s Pennsylvania! Y’all make delicious pretzels and are full of German people. How can this be?!

    Man, now I wish there was a place in Tennessee that made pretzels.

  7. I wish there were something like “jinx” you could shout when two people comment at the same time.

    In Illinois, where I grew up, you could buy all alcohol just about anywhere and yet, there were still liquor stores, so it’s hard for me to understand what the problem is.

  8. Bridgett, New York’s laws make even less sense than Tennessee’s, because New York is the third biggest wine growing state in the country. They have a lot of small wineries in the Central New York area where I went to college that would really benefit from being able to sell in stores around the state. Multiple industries would get a boost if New York would allow it.

  9. Don’t forget that the only alcohol you can buy on Sundays is beer, & then only after church lets out; some places, like Portland, you can’t even get beer on Sunday. I don’t know why that hasn’t been overturned as discriminatory, since Shabbat ain’t Sunday.

  10. Massachusetts can buy any kind of alcohol we want at up to two instances of any grocery store chain in the state (i.e., if you own a bunch of stores, you can sell alcohol in two of them).

    Otherwise, you have to go to specialized liquor stores, which cannot sell groceries, although they can sell snacks, sweets, and lemons/limes.

    A few years ago we started to be able to buy alcohol on Sundays, which was a big deal at the time. More recently there was a vote on whether or not we wanted to let alcohol be sold in any grocery store that wanted to sell it, but it lost.

    The main arguments were:
    a) that drunkenness and immorality would increase and take over the state;
    and b) that small business owners (since a person/corporation can only own two places that sell alcohol, this means lots of small neighborhood liquor stores) would suffer if the big grocery chains were able to get into the market.

    I was sympathetic to b). I would like to be able to buy wine with my weekly shopping, though!

  11. Cool Springs Julie, the logic behind the passenger being able to drink in a car is all about the people en route to UT games on buses being able to imbibe. I shit you not.

  12. Yeah, what tanglethis said. It was AWFUL in Pennsylvania. Just awful.

    I’m agitating for wine in the grocery store, but frankly, just being able to buy beer there feels glorious.

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