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Liquor Lobby Named Naughtiest to Taxpayers, Consumers by Free-Market TN Think Tank

Press Release from the Beacon Center of Tennessee, Dec. 12, 2011:

Liquor Lobby Receives Lump of Coal Award for Thwarting Wine in Grocery Stores

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee (formerly the Tennessee Center for Policy Research) today announced the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee as the recipient of its 2011 Lump of Coal Award.

The Beacon Center awards this dubious distinction annually to the person or group in Tennessee who, more than any other during the past year, acted as a Grinch to Tennesseans by bah-humbugging the principles of liberty and limited government.

For the first time, the 2011 Lump of Coal Award was chosen directly by Tennesseans in an online poll. Respondents chose from a list of five finalists selected by Beacon Center staff. The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers received the most votes for the not-so-coveted prize, beating out Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency by a single vote.

The Lump of Coal Award goes to the association for its actions to prevent grocery stores from selling wine in the state, a measure that 33 states allow and one that would benefit Tennesseans economically.

“The liquor lobby, led by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee, has used questionable tactics to scare rural Tennesseans and lawmakers into erroneously believing that allowing grocery stores to sell wine will bring about some type of booze-propelled chaos, all in an effort to protect its powerful monopoly over wine,” said Justin Owen, the Beacon Center’s president and CEO.

“Despite the fact that nearly three out of four Tennesseans want to end the Prohibition-era restrictions on wine, their calls were yet again drowned out by this formidable lobbying force. Maybe the association’s leadership can wash down its lump of coal with a nice bottle of cabernet, purchased exclusively from a liquor store, of course.”

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization committed to providing free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. Through research, advocacy, and investigative reporting, the Center advances ideas grounded in the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.