400+ Tennessee grocery stores begin selling wine - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Over 400 Tennessee grocery stores begin selling wine

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CHATTANOOGA -

When going to the grocery store, Tennessee shoppers will now be able to grab their milk, bread and wine all at the same place, making a trip to the grocery store a one stop shop.

New laws went into effect Friday, including the sale of wine at some local grocery stores.

Wine enthusiast won't have to go far to find the perfect bottle or Merlot or chardonnay. Shelves are fully stocked at 459 licensed retail food stores across Tennessee, customers can now pick up wine where they buy their groceries.

Some customers like Jim Winnett with the Better Business Bureau said it's all about the convenience factor.

“We're all constrained by time, time is an issue and certainly before they would have to make that additional stop,” Winnett said.

The change is nearly a decade in the making.  In 2014, the state legislature voted to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores.

Some liquor retailers voiced concerns about the new law. John Millsap, the manager of Jax Liquor store is one of them. Millsap said the change could impact the bottom line for small businesses like his.

"If they're in a strip mall next to a grocery store it could very well hurt them and like I said we're a stand-alone store and we have great prices and we're going to be here,” Millhap explained.

Channel 3 was there when the first customer made the first wine purchase at the St. Elmo Food City in Chattanooga. He along with customers like Vesta Cook were eagerly waiting, as employees uncovered the wine section.

"That's why I’m here this morning, for the winery and I wanted to see how they had everything and how it's set up,” Cook said.

Only grocery stores with permits approved by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission can stock wine on their shelves.          

For smaller specialty stores like Jax they say they're confident their customers will return for better prices and a wider selection, despite the excitement of the change.

"Small businesses are your neighbors, anytime you're dealing with your neighbors you're supporting the community. Your money is staying at home,” Millhap said.

Wine lovers won't be able to buy on certain days. Some grocery stores won't sell on Sundays and certain holidays like the Fourth of July. 

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