Grocery stores permitted to expand wine selection

Grocery stores are now permitted to expand their wine selection after a judge declined to issue a preliminary injuction against the permitting process. (KATV)

In the past, only liquor stores were the ones permitted to sell all brands of wine while grocery stores could only sell a small selection of wines from local small farm wineries.

Now, that has all changed, but not before it was met with resistance from some liquor stores.

Earlier this year, lawmakers voted to allow grocery stores to expand their wine selection. However, attorneys for liquor store owners argued that the act conflicted with current state law and violated the equal protection clause of the Arkansas and the U.S. Constitution.

Earlier in the week, a judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction against the permitting process, which allowed for Wednesday's vote to move forward and more than 200 permits to big box stores and grocers.

"Those applicants were able to pick up their permits, and once they have that in the store, they can begin to sell wine in the stores," said Mary Robin Casteel with the Alcoholic Beverage Control board.

The newly permitted stores will be able to begin wine sales as soon as Thursday.

ABC also approved a permit for previously denied El Almacen in Searcy, allowing them to now serve alcohol.

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