(WBIR) Starting July 1, East Tennessee liquor stores can sell beer and other alcohol-related items for the first time.
State lawmakers saw the need for businesses to stay competitive with the passing of wine in grocery stores.
Cedar Bluff Discount Wine and Spirits in West Knoxville will take advantage of the law change.
General Manager Terrance Pate expects their first shipment of beer to arrive on Tuesday. They already have stocked up on party supplies, like corkscrews, ice cube trays, and wine glasses.
"We've been working on this for a good total of three months, getting all the plans laid out," Pate said.
In about two weeks, Cedar Bluff Discount Wine and Spirits' walk-in beer cooler will be complete. The liquor store will also have shelves full of craft beer, an eight tap beer growler station, and an area for tastings.
"We're piecing it all together right now and it's going to take some time for all of the stores that are doing it," Pate said.
Construction is cooling down at Dixie Lee Liquors in Farragut. The 700-square-foot expansion includes a growler station, tasting area, and walk-in beer cooler.
"It's a big walk-in beer cooler and beer cave to hopefully allow us to compete with the grocery stores under the changing laws," said Andy Taylor.
Taylor manages Dixie Lee Liquors with his family. Liquor stores, like Dixie Lee, will not know the true impact of wine in grocery stores for another two years.
"It's our intention to be competitive and the only way you can do that is to get into the game. And so we're going to see how well we can do," Taylor said.
Customers are excited about the convenience.
"Of course, I get my wine here all the time. So having the beer here will just be a benefit for me because I do prefer beer," said Sheila Booe of Lenoir City.
Dixie Lee Liquors will also receive their first shipment of beer on Tuesday morning.
The new law includes that liquor stores must make at least 65% of their sales from alcoholic beverages.
Before grocery stores can sell wine, voters must approve a local referendum; those sales will not happen until the summer of 2016 at the earliest.