Jun 21, 4:02 PM EDT

ABC: Hundreds of grocery stores approved for wine sales


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Alcoholic Beverage Commission has announced that most of the Tennessee grocery stores that applied to sell wine under a new state liquor law have received a license to do so.

Among the retailers that have received retail food store licenses to sell wine starting July 1 are 72 Kroger stores, 104 Wal-Mart stores and 16 Sam's Clubs, said ABC executive director Clay Byrd.

As of last week, the ABC had received 499 applications, sent 398 conditional letters of approval and delivered 279 retail food store licenses. Conditional letters of approval allow retailers to accept delivery and stock wine, but they need the retail food store license to begin selling wine on July 1.

The ABC expects to deliver licenses to the remaining qualified stores during the next two weeks.

Stores that have filed applications but haven't yet received a letter of approval are either missing required documentation or were submitted more recently, Byrd said.

"We're going to continue to do initial reviews on incoming applications," Byrd said. "These things aren't stopping; we're continuing to work extremely hard."

Lawmakers approved the wine-in-grocery stores legislation in 2014. Its implementation was purposely delayed for two years to give retail liquor stores time to prepare for their competition. The ABC started accepting applications from retailers in January.

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