Food With Wine Coalition Begins Third Push

The Food with Wine Coalition is preparing, for the third consecutive year, to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly for expanded wine sales in the commonwealth.

The grocer-supported coalition started in 2007. In the 2008 and 2009 General Assembly sessions, they pushed legislation to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores. The legislation never passed, but spokesperson Luke Schmidt says the group is counting on stronger support in the 2010 session.

“In the last two sessions, we really ran into some challenges that were beyond our control in terms of other issues that were in front of the legislature—most recently the budget issue which really took front and center and rightfully so,” he says. “So this time we’re hoping that the legislative agenda will allow some other issues to come forth.”

Given the state’s budget troubles, he’s pushing the economic benefits of having wine on grocery store shelves.

“We project that over the first two years the Commonwealth of Kentucky will realize $30.1 million in incremental tax revenue and over the first five years, $83.8 million in incremental tax revenue,” he says.

The coalition is countered by liquor store owners who say their sales would be hurt. They also argue that liquor stores can better handle the responsibility of selling alcohol.

The coalition has set up promotions in grocery stores and an online petition. Wine is available in grocery stores in Indiana and Ohio.