Should Grocery Stores Sell Hard Liquor?

TALLAHASSEE, FLA-- Walk into any grocery store in Florida and you can buy beer and wine, but you can't buy liquor without walking next door at the very least.

Now some lawmakers are saying that needs to change

The proposed Repealer Law looks to break down walls that the state mandates groceries to have between their stores and liquor stores.

"If you walk into Publix, you can get wine and beer, but then you have to walk outside and go into a separate entrance for liquor. To me it just doesn't make sense, it's harder on consumers that have to go through two lines," said Rep. Greg Steube, (R) Sarasota.

Steube's proposal would eliminate the separate entrance requirement currently on the books.

Former Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Director John Harris says there's no longer any need to separate the apple schnapps from the apple sauce.

"A law that passed immediately after prohibition, it's been in effect for about 100 years. It probably was a very good law when it was made based on the model of the liquor stores. That's changed today," said John Harris, Floridians For Better Business Practices.

With more than half of legislative session already gone, the bills have yet to be placed on an agenda for any committee.

Florida's Independent Spirit Association has spoken out against the proposal.

The group says that allowing liquor sales in grocery stores or Walmart increases access to minors.

Steube said, "They could walk in the liquor store right now, but they still have to get carded and ID'd in order to purchase alcohol. So access to minors, in my opinion, isn't going to change at all."

ABC Liquors has come out in opposition against the bill.

Walmart is for it, saying the business model operates just fine in the other states that allow it.

Supporters say a change it unlikely this year, but they're hoping for a possible last minute push to get the law repealed.


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