Free Commerce

The effort to allow grocery stores to sell wine, as is legal in all but 15 states, has likely stalled for this year.  It was only after three requests that Bill Ketron’s bill even got a grudging second from Mark Norris (R-Collierville).

Just out of curiosity this morning, I poked around the Registry of Election Finance to see if there might be some correlation between dollars donated by the liquor lobby; not surprisingly, the only member of the committee who hadn’t received triple-digit contributions last year is Steve Roller, who wasn’t appointed until Dec. 18, 2007.   I didn’t comb through all the reports, but the select few that I read through told me enough.

Committee Vice-Chair Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) collected $4,000 from the WSWT PAC (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers) from December ’06 to December ’07.  I’m not sure if it’s the money, or the fact that he’s a Deacon at the Jackson Baptist Church, but he surely wasn’t looking out for Tennessee Wineries or consumers this week.

The only consolation is that one of the lobbying outfits for the liquor wholesalers has gotten into a spot of trouble over their "astroturf" (fake grassroots) website to oppose online sales of wine in Tennessee.  Astroturf — that’s a new term to me, but fitting.

Sooner or later, it will happen.  It’s just a question of how much longer we put up with the higher cost and inconvenience of a system designed to benefit the network of distributors who funnel huge sums to the legislature every year.

3 Responses to “Free Commerce”

  1. on 26 Mar 2008 at 9:40 am wine » Blog Archive » Free Commerce

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. on 30 Mar 2008 at 11:25 pm Ellen Smith

    I have high hopes for the expected “summer study” of this issue (or whatever they call it). Even without campaign money getting in the way, reforming Tennessee’s bizarre collection of legal restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages would not be a “quick fix” — it’s bound to require a complicated set of negotiations and compromises.

  3. on 07 Apr 2008 at 9:37 pm Pamela Treacy

    I was talking with my local retailer who said that he wasn’t opposed to grocery stores selling wine if they could sell cigarettees, beer, mixers and other food items.

    I would tend to agree with him. They would need to make their stores a destination. In Chicago, we used to have great wine and deli type stores. You could pick up all the items to have a few friends over for appetizers and drinks.

    Part of the legislation, in addition to grocery stores selling wine, is to allow for internet purchases or direct vineyard purchases. Currently, you can’t ship to TN when you are visting wineries in other states.

    Keep us posted.

    Pamela Treacy

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