Wider wine selection could be headed to a grocery store near you

Grocery stores allowed to sell wider wine variety

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Buying your favorite wine could soon be a little more convenient.

A new law now in effect expands the options of wine sales for grocery stores, but now some businesses are expecting a serious cut in profit. Before, grocery stores could only sell wine from small wineries that produce less than 250,000 gallons a year. With a law that took effect October 1, they have no limits.

Before grocery stores pack their shelves with a wider variety of wine, they have to apply through ABC who started accepting applications Monday. They’ve already accepted 80 applications including all Walmart’s in wet counties. More businesses are expected to apply.

"Could be several hundred, could be five, six, hundred in just a few months," said Scott Harden with Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

This is affecting liquor stores too and those business owners have serious concerns.

"You’re moving more product of ours into grocery stores, but you’re not creating more drinkers, you’re just spreading out the inventory," said John Akins, owner of Legacy Wine and Spirits.

Akins is preparing for a hit to business.

"Especially if you’re a predominantly wine store, it will impact them pretty severely because grocery stores will sell the top items," said Akins.

In an effort to ease those concerns, liquor stores can now sell limited food items.

"They can sell meats, cheeses, things along those lines that previously had not been allowed," said Hardin.

"We don’t think it’s going to equal up to the amount of business we'll lose," said Akins.

How prices will compare is still unknown, Akins hopes this change won't keep wine drinkers from making an extra stop to his store.

"The retailers are small business owners and keep them in mind when shopping for their products," said Akins.

Alcohol Beverage Control will meet in November to look over applications, meaning you may start to see this change at your stores late next month.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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