I called a number of local liquor store owners this morning to ask for arguments against allowing wine sales in grocery stores. I’ll say this…they are all on the same page, short as it is. I heard the exact same arguments each time, and I have to admit even the most compelling is probably not enough to stop this legislation. As a former small business owner, I am well acquainted with the night sweats that occur when you have placed everything you own into your business, or borrowed heavily to start in the first place. One owner told me he invested in the liquor business based on the laws in place at the time, that is, that only licensed liquor stores could sell wine and spirits. Changing the rules after the fact seemed pretty unfair to him. That seems reasonable enough, but as I stated above, absent a viable class-action lawsuit, probably not convincing enough to stop this legislation.
The “what about the kids” argument falls flat. End of argument.
But the whole approach to liquor sales in this state and in Georgia strikes me as unfair. One example: As a bar owner, i was forced to buy certain products from certain distributors. If the sales rep failed to come by to take my order, I wasn’t allowed too buy that product from anyone else, at any price. Thats a pretty cozy arrangement for the distributors, is it not?
Another argument that seems a bit of a stretch, but certainly not impossible, is whether or not big box grocery chains might be able to qualify for rebates based on bulk purchases like they do with certain soda manufacturers? If Publix agrees to purchase 20,000 cases of Ripple, the winery agrees on a 10 cent rebate per bottle, thereby allowing Publix to sell their product slightly cheaper. Isn’t that what all big box stores do? Walmart doesn’t negotiate the purchase of a dozen hammers…they buy a couple of boatloads of hammers at a time, right?
I like the idea of local dollars staying local, but I don’t think you can mandate that.
The last owner flat out said that deregulating alcohol sales was a bad thing, period. He then proceeded to say that in a “conservative” State like Tennessee, we should be leading the charge against. I didn’t have the heart…