MMBA | Position
Against Allowing Grocery (General Food) Stores To Sell Wine
In Minnesota, wine intended for consumption off the licensed premises
(off-sale) may only be sold by an Exclusive Liquor Store. The proposal
would allow wine to be sold in grocery stores.
MMBA is opposed to this legislation due to its negative affect on
preventing drunk driving and underage alcohol sales and consumption. In
addition this legislation would have a significantly detrimental economic
impact on current off-sale retailers.
sweet "pop" wine,
and jug wine – products most strongly desired by underage
The minimum age to purchase alcohol in Minnesota is 21 years
old. The majority of current off-sale retailers do not allow
persons under 21 to enter their facility to purchase any items,
unless accompanied by an adult. Common industry practice allows
individuals under 21 years of age to enter and purchase products
in a grocery store including cigarettes and lottery tickets. This
customer base would make it difficult to ensure consistent legal
sale of beverage alcohol.
The economic impact to current off-sale retailers would be
devastating. Current off-sale retailers are statutorily limited to
the types of items they can sell. Grocery stores are not limited
and will be able to simply utilize wine as a new and significant
profit center to complement their existing inventory. Current
off-sale retailers will not be able to compete.
This legislation opens the door for the elimination of 3.2% beer
in Minnesota. (3.2 beer contains not less than one-half of one
percent alcohol by volume nor more than 3.2 percent alcohol by
- This legislation would significantly increase the number of
off-sale establishments allowed to sell wine (alcohol) – a
controlled substance. This increase would put a large economic and
personnel burden on regulatory bodies.
- These establishments would be allowed to sell all types of wine
products including wine coolers, fortified wine
stores and wherever beer is sold to sell 3.2 beer. Due to the same
regulatory issues concerning regulation of alcohol and wine,
"Strong" Beer (over 3.2%) can only be sold in exclusive liquor
stores. If wine can be sold in grocery stores, there will be little to
prevent them from eventually selling strong beer. Since beer accounts
for approximately 60% of off-sale revenue, most, if not all, small and
medium sized off-sale retail operations would be forced out of business
and the alcohol retail distribution system in Minnesota would be
dramatically altered forever.
Minnesota law allows grocery stores, gas