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Group in favor of selling wine in grocery stores kicks off new campaign

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - There is a new push to put pressure on Tennessee lawmakers for a referendum vote on wine in grocery stores.

The group Red White and Food knows about the challenges ahead but it insists it has Tennesseans on its side. The group hopes a new campaign will prove it.

The concept of being able to buy wine where you buy food has been debated in Tennessee for more than a decade.

"Thirty-six of the 50 states allow this," said Jarron Springer, who spoke on behalf of Red White and Food. "Majority of our bordering states allow this."

Red White and Food is a coalition of retailers and consumers who want wine in Tennessee grocery stores.

The group kicked off a new postcard campaign. You can find the "Wish Wine Were Here" postcards in places like Kroger. The goal? The group hopes people in favor of having wine in grocery stores will them out and send the cards to lawmaker, putting on the pressure to get a referendum on the ballot.

"Allow local government to have referendums, so citizens can vote in those areas," said Springer. "That's how liquor sales and package by the drink come into a community."

Two years ago, a Middle Tennessee State poll found nearly 70 percent of Tennesseeans want wine in grocery stores. Just 17 percent opposed it and 13 percent were undecided.

One of those against it was Josh Hammond. He runs Buster's Wine and Spirits in Memphis. Earlier this year, he said mom and pop stores statewide are in jeopardy if wine is sold in grocery stores.

"To change the rules and literally put us up against corporate giants like Kroger and Wal-Mart and Costco. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage," said Hammond.

"It's hard for me to believe that they can't compete because other states and other competitors are able to do that," said Springer.

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