Wine in retail food stores approved by Tennessee voters

Organizers of the effort to allow the sale of wine in Tennessee food stores hailed the thousands of grassroots supporters and volunteers who helped propel the effort yesterday in all 78 eligible locations.

“This is truly a great day for Tennessee consumers,” said Susie Alcorn, campaign manager of Red White and Food, the nonprofit organization that supports allowing wine sales in Tennessee’s retail food stores. “The voters have spoken, and the wine in retail food stores referendum has passed everywhere it appeared on the ballot. Red White and Food is grateful to its retail partners who supported this campaign on behalf of their customers, the legislative leadership who enabled Tennessee voters to have a voice and the many voters who showed overwhelming support for wine in retail food stores.”

Among the qualifying municipalities where the referendum passed were Metropolitan Nashville/ Davidson County, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport. (A complete list of municipalities that passed the referendum appears at the end of this document.)

“Kroger couldn’t be happier with the results and for this long-awaited victory for our customers,” said Melissa Eads, the community relations manager for the Nashville division of Kroger. “We look forward to the day when they can finally buy a bottle of wine with their groceries—a convenience they have requested for years.”

Legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in March of this year was a compromise between retail food stores and liquor stores. Many liquor stores across the state began selling beer and party supplies on July 1 of this year as allowed by the new law.

The wine in retail food stores referendum appeared on the ballot in 78 qualifying municipalities across Tennessee. Petitions were filed in those communities this summer and were certified by the local election commissions to authorize the referendum. In the 78 communities where the wine referendum passed, most retail food stores will be able to sell wine beginning July 1, 2016.