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Tennessee expects wine in grocery stores by July 2016

NASHVILLE— Tennessee regulators expect 270 stores across the state to be among the first wave of supermarkets to sell wine under a new state law going into effect in July 2016.

Keith Bell, the director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, told lawmakers on Monday, March 2 that those first stores include 109 in Middle Tennessee, 105 in Chattanooga and Knoxville regions and 56 in the western part of the state.

Industry projections estimate that 10 times as many grocery stores might choose to sell wine over time.

Bell said neither his agency nor the alcohol industry would be prepared if lawmakers decide to move up the date of supermarket wine sales to this July.

Bell said he would support changing state law to have the ABC regulate beer instead of local governments.

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