Selling wine safely

Liquor stores claim they are the only businesses that can sell wine safely because only people who are 21 and over have any reason for being in their stores.

The second half of this statement is true; by law, they can only sell wine and liquor. They have accepted limitations on their business in return for the monopoly status they have over the market.

The first half of the statement is just self-serving. Let’s look at the conditions necessary to sell wine safely:

  1. Experience managing and stocking controlled products
  2. Licensing and education for employees
  3. Procedures for determining proof of age at point of sale

Retail food stores already accomplish #1 and #3. Retail food stores have sold beer and pharmaceuticals (both controlled products) for many years. They also follow the Responsible Vendor Act, which requires proof of age for anyone who reasonably looks younger than 50. Ironically, liquor stores aren’t required by law to check proof of age.

The retail food industry would follow all rules for licensing and education (#2) required by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission if its stores are allowed to sell wine. Under the Responsible Vendor Act, retail food stores can already volunteer to become “responsible vendors” by requiring clerks to complete the ABC’s server training course.

Liquor stores have a monopoly on the wine market. That doesn’t mean they have a monopoly on safe sales.

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4 Responses to “Selling wine safely”

  1. MemphisVino Says:

    Liquor stores have a monopoly on the wine market? Interesting. I’d say grocery stores have a monopoly on the beer market.

    I love the “concession” you lobbyists at the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association came up with. Allow Grocers and Convenience Stores to sell wine (a HUGE portion of liquor stores sales!), and we’ll allow you to sell ice, soft drinks, and other items. WOW! What a deal, Howie!

    It is hard for me to even type this with a straight face or without a face of disgust. This is such a ploy. And the post regarding donations to state legislators from the Wholesalers Association is laughable as well. As if this lobbyist group did not donate significant funds to Sen. Ketron and Rep. Rinks. ..

  2. Pete Says:

    Hey Memphis, why should anyone, in an open market, have a monopoly on anything? I understand you want to preserve it for whatever reason (you’re an owner, lobbyist, etc) but this is America, and it’s built on competitive free enterprise. Should the legislature limit tools and fertilizer to mom and pop hardware stores to protect them from Home Depot?

  3. S L Says:

    I recently walked through my first Kroger Market or whatever it is called just outside of Knoxville, an upper scale Kroger with extra square footage where they sell – gasp! – FURNITURE. Where was the outrage from the already hurting furniture retailers about this intrusion into their industry? Where were the Tennessee Legislators to protect them from catastrophe? Well, hmm, it seems to be completely absent. Could it be that business was allowed to change on its own without governement interference or protection? But by golly, can’t someone get hurt buying a recliner without knowledgeable sales assistance? And of course, what about the CHILDREN? Buying furniture without any adult guidance? Shocking !!

    Let the market (no pun intended) prevail. End the monopoly of the spoiled brats and let them deal with reality for a change. It’s not the government’s responsibility to protect your industry from change, it’s your business to change with the times and adapt. Evolve or die.

  4. Scott Says:

    Hey Pete,

    I own a wine store in Memphis, and I can tell you I don’t have a monopoly on anything…there are 5 or 6 fierce competitors to my business within three miles of me. Competition is good for the consumer, yes; but there’s already plenty.

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