Next year’s booze bill: Liquor sales on Sundays?

In a lengthy review of change in Tennessee liquor laws, the highlight being wine in grocery stores, the Nashville Scene suggests the next step: Sunday sales of liquor and wine by the bottle.

Why should a grocery store be permitted to sell beer until 3 a.m. on Sundays but have to cut off wine sales at 11 p.m. and refuse to sell on Sundays? But in a compromise with the liquor retail industry, the grocery lobby agreed to the different hours, at least for now.

Everyone knows the fix is temporary. The question is, how long before it changes?

“I think maybe a year or two — let’s take a breather,” Ketron says of when he might introduce legislation syncing the days and times that wine and beer can be sold. “But it’s the next logical step that people want.”

Ketron points out that many people are skirting Sunday sales already by going to a restaurant, ordering a bottle of wine, sipping maybe half a glass, and then taking the bottle home under corkage provisions. Besides, distilleries in the state can already sell their wares on Sundays, meaning there is currently a legal way to buy liquor on the Lord’s Day.

Cheek thinks it will take a couple of tries to get Sunday sales through; Ketron estimates “up to five years.” But Ikard thinks if enough consumers contact their legislators this fall — and enough grocery store owners point out what a pain the law is — the change could be sooner.

“I think we could possibly change that next session,” Ikard says.

Even retailers seem resigned to the eventuality.