Wine Enthusiast has named Kroger its "2013 Retailer of the Year," and the Cincinnati-based grocery store chain is using the award as a chance to promote its efforts to bring wine sales to Tennessee supermarkets.
The magazine praises Kroger for selling more than $1 billion in wine in 2012, for hiring 450 wine stewards to work with customers and for its "plans to grow aggressively" its wine sales over the next five years. That includes the Red, White and Food campaign to change Tennessee law to allow wine sales outside liquor stores.
Kroger said the award is ironic since it can't sell in Tennessee.
"We are honored to receive recognition from the experts at Wine Enthusiast; we also can't help but see the irony in the No. 1 retailer's not being able to sell wine in our Tennessee stores," said Rick Going, the head of the chain's Nashville Division said in a press release.
"More than 70 percent of Tennesseans want to buy wine where they shop for food, and we couldn't agree more. We hope the Tennessee General Assembly will pass legislation to give Tennessee consumers the right to vote on wine sales for their communities."