Vote for Wine in Tennessee Groceries Meets Attack Ads in Maryville and Alcoa

Vote for Wine in Tennessee Groceries Meets Attack Ads in Maryville and Alcoa

For Christians, wine is central to the Eucharist, a sacred rite from the Last Supper, where Jesus famously shared bread and wine with his disciples.

Wine in Grocery Stores, which we affectionately call WIGS, is shaping up to be the big issue on the ballot for fall elections.  Although the Tennessee legislature legalized WIGS, each city or county must hold an election to vote for WIGS before groceries can sell wine.  About 80 cities and counties have WIGS on the ballot this fall, as we blogged here.

Many political pundits predicted that WIGS could face opposition from conservative religious groups, particularly in small towns in more rural areas.

An anti-WIGS ad campaign in Maryville and Alcoa, reportedly funded by retail liquor stores, comes as a surprise even for the most jaded of liquor-industry insiders.  The Daily News has the scoop.

The anti-WIGS billboard ads feature fear-mongering over the sale of fortified wines in convenience stores.  The ads ignore the fact that almost every convenience store is not eligible for a WIGS license.  Mapco, Pilot and other Tennessee convenience stores do not sell enough grocery food items to qualify for wine sales under WIGS.

Conjures up Lilac Wine by Nina Simone:

Lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love
Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love

Local option liquor elections like WIGS in Tennessee have involved colorful election tactics.  Nashville's 1967 election to legalize liquor-by-the-drink led to a seemingly unlikely  alliance between bootleggers and Baptists.  Liquor opponents bombed the mailbox of a prominent proponent of liquor.

Although we hope WIGS does not inspire violence, we expect the political battles over WIGS to heat up as the November 4 election approaches.

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