Mississippi coalition makes renewed push for wine in grocery stores

The earliest anyone in Tennessee could see wine in grocery stores would be July 2016.
The earliest anyone in Tennessee could see wine in grocery stores would be July 2016.
Updated: Sep. 5, 2019 at 8:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You won’t find your favorite wine on Mississippi grocery shelves. But you can in 38 other states. The Looking for Wine? coalition is attempting to change that.

“In grocery stores right now, what you will see are beer and light wine that’s below five percent," explained coalition chair Elliott Flaggs. What the retail grocers would like to sell is what I call real wine which is above five percent. Most of your wines are anywhere between 10-20 percent.”

Convenience for shoppers is the first selling point. But the coalition also argues it could bump money coming into the state, citing a Mississippi State business school economic impact study from a few years ago.

“They mentioned that it would bring in at least $18-20 million in additional revenue," added Flaggs. "Now, this is revenue that does not require tax increases.”

But local wine and spirit store owners are the ones that keep pushing back on the law change. Managing partner of Colony Wine Market Scott Jackson says it could eventually put many small shops out of business.

“This from Spain," says Jackson as he picks up a bottle from the shelf. "Small production. You’re not going to see these wines in grocery stores.”

He says the cheaper wines drive the revenue that allow them to offer the more unique selection.

“Mississippi wine and liquor stores that are owned by mom and pops lose revenue to grocery giants, it’s going to be harder to stock the better wines, the small production wines that we offer,” explained Jackson.

The ultimate decision will be made the legislature that will be back in session in January.

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