Wine Sales in Tennessee Retail Food Stores Would Create Up To 3,500 Jobs

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A new economic impact study also finds that allowing wine sales in Tennessee's food stores would bring $19 million to $38 million in tax revenue to state and local governments. More information is available at http://www.uncorknewjobs.com.

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We are preventing Tennesseans from getting much-needed jobs if we don’t pass this bill.

Passing legislation to allow wine sales in retail food stores would bring new jobs and revenue to Tennessee, a new economic impact study finds.

The analysis by Stonebridge Research Group projects Tennessee’s overall wine market will grow by 25-55 percent if the law passes. That level of growth would create between 1,597 and 3,513 Tennessee jobs.

Opening the wine market to retail food stores also would generate anywhere from $19.0 million to $38.2 million in taxes and license fees for local and state governments. The entire report is available at http://www.uncorknewjobs.com.

Gov. Bill Haslam and leaders in the General Assembly repeatedly have said job creation and addressing the state’s financial challenges are top priorities.

“We are preventing Tennesseans from getting much-needed jobs if we don’t pass this bill,” said Jarron Springer, president of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association. “The substantial revenue generated by this legislation doesn’t require a tax increase or an incentive to spur private investment.”

In addition to job creation and tax revenue, Stonebridge researchers analyzed the impact that increased competition for wine sales would have on liquor stores.

Existing liquor stores could see a 5-28 percent reduction in sales volume in communities most likely to buy wine, according the report. Between 104 and 597 liquor store jobs would be vulnerable, but it is unreasonable to assume that all of these jobs would be eliminated.

“The net impact is about 1,000 to 3,000 new jobs for Tennesseans,” Springer said.

During the session Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Rep. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) will reintroduce legislation that would allow wine sales in Tennessee retail food stores.

The proposed legislation recommends changes that benefit liquor stores and their revenue, including:

  •          Owning multiple stores
  •          Selling stores to out-of-state companies
  •          Offering wine tastings in liquor stores
  •          Providing alcohol to non-profit events free of charge (sponsorships)
  •          Selling additional items associated with alcoholic beverages, including glasses, corkscrews, ice, mixers, etc.

“Liquor store owners deserve an opportunity to compete in the new market,” Springer said. “It’s up to them to come to the table.”

The Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association commissioned Stonebridge Research Group, which specializes in the wine industry, to conduct the study.

The association also is a supporter of Red White and Food, the campaign that backs legislation that would allow retail food stores to sell wine. More than 25,000 Tennesseans have become Red White and Food members by signing up at http://www.redwhiteandfood.com.

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