The top two Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly say they support allowing the sale of wine in supermarkets. With the influx of new GOP lawmakers comes the opportunity to reshape key committees where efforts to allow wine sales have long been corked up by opponents.
Under the state's restrictive three-tiered beverage control system, alcohol is supposed to flow from the manufacturer to a wholesale distributor and finally to the retailers. Anything stronger than beer can only be bought at one of 501 liquor stores around the state. Both the House and Senate speakers say they support referendums in counties that currently allow liquor sales on whether to remove liquor stores' exclusive right to sell wine.