The compromise wine-in-grocery-stores bill up for committee review in
the state House of Representatives Tuesday would not allow wine sales
in grocery stores until July 1, 2016 — and those within 500 feet of a
liquor store a year later unless the liquor retailer agrees.
The compromise unveiled Tuesday morning in the House State Government
Committee also requires a minimum 20 percent markup from the wholesale
price of wine — an attempt to prevent grocers from undercutting liquor
stores on price.
The compromise proposal allows "big box" retailers like Walmart and
Target and larger convenience stores to sell wine. In order to qualify
for wine sales, a "retail food store" must derive at least 20 percent of
its sales from food items that are taxed at the state's discounted 5
percent food tax rate and have retail floor space of at least 2,000
square feet, which would exclude smaller convenience stores.
Grocery wine sales would be permitted only in towns, cities and
counties whose residents approve it in referendums. The referendums
could be held, starting with this November's general election, only in
towns, cities and counties with retail liquor stores or liquor by the