published Monday, December 12th, 2011

State liquor lobby wins ‘Lump of Coal’ award

NASHVILLE — Just in time for Christmas, a libertarian-style think tank/advocacy group has awarded Tennessee’s powerful liquor lobby its annual “Lump of Coal” award for its successful effort to block sales of wine in grocery stores.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee announced the award to the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee, basing the move on an online poll.

The Lump of Coal Award goes to the association for its actions to prevent grocery stores from selling wine in the state, a measure that 33 states allow and one that would benefit Tennesseans economically.

“The liquor lobby, led by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee, has used questionable tactics to scare rural Tennesseans and lawmakers into erroneously believing that allowing grocery stores to sell wine will bring about some type of booze-propelled chaos, all in an effort to protect its powerful monopoly over wine,” said Justin Owen, the Beacon Center’s president and CEO in a news release.

The center says it gives the “lump of coal” award each year “to the person or group in Tennessee who, more than any other during the past year, acted as a Grinch to Tennesseans by bah-humbugging the principles of liberty and limited government.”

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jharvey1984 said...

my opposal of this bill had nothing to do with the "booze-propelled chaos", rather I opposed the bill because it would destroy mom and pop liquor stores which provide a better selection and more knowledge than any grocery store ever could.

December 12, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
Pizzaguy said...

Ironically, the best wine experiance I had was with "Total Wine & More"...yes its a box store, but the employees knew their stuff and their prices are excellent.

Too many times I have found the "mom and pop" liquor stores to have just regular folks running a cash register, and not someone with a broad experience of knowledge in wine/liquor. They just offe the "deal of the day" or the most popular.

December 12, 2011 at 1:20 p.m.
jesse said...

this issue is blatant proof that tenn. is still in the stone age!!!

all this law does is make me have to make an extra stop on shopping day!idiocy in spades!periot!

December 12, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
memphisexile said...

If mom and pop stores provide a better selection and more knowledge they will stay in business because there is a consumer out there who wants that. They may not be able to maintain the same profits, but society does not owe them a profitable business. Tennesseans should not have to make a special trip to a liquor store to pay for overpriced wine to protect the small businessman. It makes no sense to punish the consumer to protect a small group of liquor store owners so they can maintain their profit margins. They will be fine, because they will still have their little monopoly on liquor.

December 12, 2011 at 1:42 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

memphis, so would you support a law that also allowed grocery stores to sell liqour? what about allowing amazon to sell beer and liquor? by the way, im not trying to sound like a smartass, just asking a question for the sake of debate.

December 12, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.
frodrick said...

jharvey1984: Yes, I would support a law that allowed grocery stores to sell liquor. In CA, grocery stores can sell beer, wine, and liquor. Not surprisingly, there are still a ton of stand-alone liquor stores. I would venture a guess that there are more stand-alone liquor stores in CA than there are in TN. Removing the ban on grocery stores selling wine and liquor will do nothing to the business model of stand-alone liquor stores.

December 12, 2011 at 3:47 p.m.
ChattyCharles said...

I haven't ever seen anyone getting drunk and throwing a fit in a grocery store. If they can still get alcohol other places, what is the point of the bill? Prohibition didn't work so well to first time, I'm not so sure we start tip-toing that way again...

December 12, 2011 at 7:43 p.m.
Oz said...

I quit buying wine in Tennessee. I drive to Georgia and buy it at Trader Joe's or Costco. Tennessee is losing the tax dollars and Chattanooga is missing out on Trader Joe's and Costco. I buy a whole lot more than wine at both stores and it is costing Tennessee. The liquor lobby is really costing Tennessee jobs and tax dollars.

December 12, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
ThinBlue706 said...

I do not understand Tennessee's issue with taxes. Everyone bemoans cuts in state programs, pell grants, HOPE, grade school and high school education, TennCare and so on. Noone will even discuss ways of of raising state revenue. I am retired. I worked and lived most of my life in Georgia. I earned up to $50k/ year in Georgia and paid little state tax. What I did pay, I could remove from my federal taxes. That means my money stayed in the state, not sent to the welfare state of Californication or the Commonwealth of Mass.-confusion. Being a working man all my life and now living on retirement, I find higher sales tax to be much more difficult to manage on a day to day basis. Georgia has much lower sales tax, which is easier on retirees, the working poor, and the working class in general. As a former law enforcement officer, I did not find that selling wine in a grocery store caused any increase in d.u.i.'s or drunken activity. I can not remember one case where wine being sold at a grocery store was ever an issue. In this tough economy Tennessee either can continue these cuts, that hurt the poor the most, or modernize the way taxes are collected. This story of "protecting" mom & pop small liquor stores sounds like the same male-bovine byproduct the politicians are always trying to ram down the working mans throat. This is actually to protect the LARGE liquor store owners who own several stores, and contribute LARGE sums of money to political campaigns. Like Oz said, jobs, dollars, and taxes are being lost so a few big liquor store owners can continue to make more money.

December 13, 2011 at 8:04 a.m.
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