Grocers group organizing efforts to get WIGS referendum on November local ballots

News release from Red, White and Food
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 5, 2014) – Red White and Food – a coalition launched by the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association in support of wine sales in retail food stores – will become an independent nonprofit organization that will lead the statewide wine referendum campaign.

By becoming a 501(c)(6) organization, Red White and Food will be able to support eligible communities in local petition drives to get the referendum for the legal sale of wine in retail food stores on the November ballot. In the communities where the referendum passes, retailers can begin selling wine as early as July 2016.

“We’re excited to enter the next phase of the wine in retail foods stores campaign and to begin the process of collecting signatures of registered voters,” said Melissa Eads, marketing manager for the Nashville division of Kroger, and a Red White and Food committee member. “This effort has always been about our customers, and we look forward to the day when they will be able to purchase wine with the rest of their groceries.”

To get the wine referendum on the ballot, eligible communities – those that already allow liquor-by-the-drink, liquor stores or both – must submit these petitions to the local election commission with at least as many signatures as would equal 10 percent of their residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election. The petitions must be completed and verified by the local election commissions by Aug. 21.

“Retail food stores across the state are eager to help eligible communities put the wine referendum on the November ballot,” said Steve Smith, who is president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, which owns Food City grocery stores in East Tennessee, and a Red White and Food executive committee member. “Making Red White and Food a nonprofit organization is the first step in producing successful petition drives, and ultimately passing the wine referendum on Nov. 4.”