Archive for March, 2008

4 for 4

March 25, 2008

The Tennessean published an editorial today in support of wine sales in retail food stores. This is the fourth editorial in support in the last four weeks. We like those stats.

Here are some highlights:

“Further, the backers of the bill have shown the same commitment to Tennessee’s tough ID law for purchasing beer as do package stores. And when spokesmen for safety organizations ranging from the Metro Nashville Police Department to Mothers Against Drunk Driving say they do not oppose the bill, the wholesalers’ arguments fall flat.”

“The real issue here is competition. Grocers want the opportunity to participate. Beer wholesalers worry that wine will overwhelm their market display space, and liquor wholesalers and merchants don’t want to share their small but lucrative pond with other fish.

Yet, everyone would benefit. Grocers may become the volume sellers, but package stores could rebrand themselves as the place to go for high-end and specialty wines, and still would be the source of all liquor sales.”

Other supporting editorials since the start of the Red White and Food campaign include:

Memphis Commercial Appeal

Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle

TriCites Herald Courier

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Misconceptions abound

March 24, 2008

Throughout our campaign, people have been saying this is the latest of many attempts to allow retail food stores to sell wine.

We had to find out for ourselves, so we searched all proposed legislation for the last decade.

We found this is only the second time in the last 10 years that anyone has proposed legislation allowing wine sales. Last year, a replacement senator from West Tennessee proposed the legislation because he thought it would be a good idea (which it is). Without other supporters, the legislation did not even get consideration in committee.

This year is entirely different. First, the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association is leading and supporting the effort. Second, the Red White and Food campaign has attracted more than 1,900 members from across the state and given them a voice in the debate. Third, this year’s legislation will be heard by the Senate State & Local Government Committee tomorrow.

We have no doubt this is a change that people have wanted for a long time. Perhaps now the time has come to make it a reality.

Dover, Tenn., will not have wine in retail food stores

March 17, 2008

The people behind stopteendrinkingtn.org sent an email today to their membership. We have decided to publish the e-mail in its entirety.

Why would we do that? Because we believe this is an important debate for Tennesseans that demands full disclosure on both sides. We have numbered several places in the e-mail. Our comments for each follow the e-mail.

The e-mail was a letter written by Chief of Police Kim Wallace from Dover, Tenn. For the record, Dover is not one of the 85 or so municipalities in Tennessee that has voted to allow liquor stores. So, even if this legislation passes, retail food stores in Dover will not be able to sell wine.

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1,500 members

March 16, 2008

Another 500 Tennesseans have joined the Red White and Food campaign since last Saturday. Our total membership is more than 1,500.

Comments coming for legislators and Capitol Hill prove that our members are having an impact on the debate.

The Red White and Food team is working double time to take advantage of this great momentum and do everything we can to make wine sales in retail food stores a reality.

Thanks for your support. Keep it up.

A toast to success!

P.S. In case you are wondering if this is really a statewide issue, here’s a list of the cities where our members live.

Allons, Antioch, Arlington, Arlington , Ashland City, Bartlett, Baxter, Bell Buckle, Bon Aqua, Brentwood, Brownsville, Brush Creek, Burns, Camden, Carthage, Cedar Hill, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Clarksville, College Grove, Collierville, Columbia, Cookeville, Cordova, Cornersville, Corryton, Crossville, Dandridge, Dickson, Dixon Springs, Dresden, Dyersburg, Eads, Fairview, Fayetteville, Franklin, Gallatin, Germantown, Goodlettsville, Greenbrier, Harriman, Hartsville, Hendersonville, Hermitage, Hixson, Hohenwald, Jackson, Jefferson City, Joelton, Kenton, Kingsport, Kingston, Kingston Springs, Knoxville, La Vergne, Lafayette, Lavergne, Lebanon, Lexington, Livingston, Loretto, Lynchburg, Madison, Manchester, Maryville, Mascot, McMinnville, Memphis, Millington, Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Nolensville, Old Hickory, Paris, Pegram, Pleasant View, Portland, Pulaski, Rentwood, Ridgetop, Rock Island, Rockford, Rugby, Sevierville, Sharon, Shelbyville, Smithville, Smyrna, South Fulton, Sparta, Spring Hill, Springfield, Surgoinsville, Tazewell, Thompsons Station, Tullahoma, Union City, Vonore, Watertown, Waverly, Westmoreland, White Bluff, White House, Whites Creek, Williamsport, Williston, and Winchester

Headline: Consumers may tilt balance

March 16, 2008

Contacting your elected officials can change the direction of this year’s debate. The Kingsport Times-News had a good story on Saturday that focused on how consumer interest is making a difference.

Here is an excerpt from the story.

Judging by the current direction of consumer sentiment, [Rep. Dale] Ford said he believes the bill has good prospects.

“If we voted on it tomorrow I think it would pass,” he said.

And this.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about this already,” state Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough, said Friday.

While drawing its expected opposition from liquor stores and wholesalers, and obvious support from grocers, this year’s effort has the marks of a consumer groundswell, said Ford’s colleague, state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough.

“I think the consumers have gotten a little more organized, and they’ve been more insistent this year,” Hill said. “I’ve heard from constituents from Johnson City all the way up to Leesburg that this is something they want, and I think at the end of the day … consumers are going to speak up and get what they want.”

The Red White and Food campaign has been about consumer choice since the first day. We’re glad to see some legislators sharing this point of view.

Other coverage this weekend

Memphis Commercial Appeal readers were overwhelmingly in favor of allowing wine sales in retail food stores.

The TriCities Herald Courier weighed in with an editorial today as well.

Red White and Food bumper stickers

March 13, 2008

Are in development and should be available soon. Click to see a larger version.

Red White and Food bumper sticker

If you want to be among the first to get one, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

Red White and Food

c/o TGCSA

1838 Elm Hill Pike

Suite 136

Nashville, TN 37210-3726

Thanks to everyone for your support.

How to find your elected officials

March 13, 2008

The most accurate way to find your elected officials is with a Zip +4 Code (for example, 37215-4806).

1. Find your Zip +4 Code at the U.S. Postal Service website.

2. Go to the Vote Smart website.

3. Enter your Zip +4 Code.

Vote Smart will provide links to each elected official and contact information.

Gov. Bredesen endorses wine sales

March 13, 2008

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported tonight that Gov. Phil Bredesen said he supports the sale of wine in retail food stores.

Sean and VolunteerVoters are also on the case.

Can’t say we saw that one coming. 🙂

Not much happened recently…

March 12, 2008

except a story on WSMV-Nashville last night, The Nashville Scene’s unique take on the issue (that would not have been our headline), and an editorial in favor from The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville.

This guy is way smarter than us

March 12, 2008

Martin Kennedy is an economist “interested in Public Choice, the study of voting and policy formation.”

In What if it is broke? [EDIT: Link no longer active], he examines the debate from an interesting viewpoint.

The difference is paid by the protected group to the authority that grants protection – the state legislature in this case. In 2006 the liquor lobby paid about $250,000 to legislators.

Think of it this way… the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers are paying in order to keep the pie smaller because they benefit from the current regulation. Consumers, as well as other retailers, benefit when the pie is allowed to get bigger. Or you can think of it this way… currently when you sip a Pinot Noir in Tennessee, you’re making a contribution, involuntarily, to re-election campaigns.

From an economic efficiency perspective it is not a close call; efficiency would be enhanced if food retailers were permitted to sell wine.

Yeah. What he said.

Please consider reading his entire post [EDIT: Link no longer active].