Kroger urges customers to support new wine campaign - WSMV Channel 4

Kroger urges customers to support 'wine in grocery stores' campaign

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A grocery store chain that has been pushing for wine in their Tennessee markets for years is rallying its customers to help.

Kroger kicked off a series of in-store events Friday, with high hopes that this will create awareness to change Tennessee laws to allow wine sales in food stores.

"Wine continues to be actually one of the most requested items in our stores. We have a lot of transients, a lot of people who move to Nashville or visit Nashville, and their first trip grocery shopping they are shocked that there's no wine here," said Melissa Eads, community affairs manager for Kroger in Middle Tennessee.

Kroger and the Tennessee Grocers Association are rolling out the public events to educate and rally voters who want wine in grocery stores.

"We're just trying to spend some time talking with customers and engaging them on the issue and telling them how they can get involved to support the effort," Eads said.

It's an issue that has been brought up for five years in the state legislature but has never made it out of committee.

The concerns have been that it could put small liquor stores out of business and increase teenage drinking.

However, the sponsor of the bill says the next session might be the right year.

"This year, I think, is the year to do it. It will be a non-election year," said State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro.

Ketron said he will bring up two different versions. One would allow wine in grocery stores, and the other would allow local counties to vote on whether or not they want wine in their grocery stores.

He said that when polls show more than two-thirds of Tennesseans say they want this change, it's impossible to ignore.

"When you get to 70 to 80 percent of the population, and that's what they want, you need to listen to the people who put you there," Ketron said.

Four public events are set for Nashville on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the events are planned at the Green Hills Kroger from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Belle Meade Kroger, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturday, the two other events will be held at the Bellevue Kroger from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Brentwood Kroger from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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