Food City CEO looks to expand Tennessee wine sales

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – After years of fighting, those in favor of wine in grocery stores were able to finally see their favorite Merlot or chardonnay on their local stores’ shelves, but it came with a price for some liquor stores.

“I would say it depends on the stores location,” said University Liquors Owner Sterchi Morton Jr. “Here on campus, we probably would’ve been alright, but there’s a Walmart and a Publix close to us so we have seen a drop off in wine.”

Supermarkets can only sell wine when liquor stores are allowed to operate. Food City CEO Steve Smith released a statement saying customers would rather have more options.

“This eliminates two very choice days for consumers – holidays and one of the most popular grocery shopping days of the week, Sundays. The restriction came as a surprise to most consumers, who naturally assumed that wine sales would correspond with approved beer sale dates and times.”

A new state bill would not only allow grocery stores to sell wine on Sundays and holidays but liquor stores would be allowed to be open as well.

Morton says he is unsure about the idea.

“I think they’re just trying to throw a bone to the liquor stores,” said Morton. “Maybe act like that they don’t want to have us open on Sunday and then let us be open and feel like we go part of it and then they’ll try to tag in these other restrictions that were already negotiated.”

The owner of Bob’s Liquor, Bob Gilbertson, says he enjoys being closed on Sundays and isn’t sure if he would support the bill.

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