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Bill allowing liquor sales at grocery stores goes dry


Supermarket liquor sales bill withdrawn

Don't look for liquor at Florida supermarkets any time soon.

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Thursday withdrew a bill pending before the Legislature that would have repealed a long-standing rule requiring spirits be sold at liquor stores. The proposal would have allowed Walmart, Target and other retailers to sell hard booze alongside groceries and other products.

Chains such as ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and independent liquor stores had lobbied intensely against the bill, arguing that selling hard liquor in supermarkets and drugstores would create an invitation for underage drinking.

"When someone underage comes into one of our stores, we know it," said Robert Gibson, chief marketing officer for Orlando-based ABC. "At Walmart, kids are all over the place. They belong."

Supporters of the bill said it would have eliminated unnecessary regulation and improved customer convenience. Florida is one of just 16 states nationwide to have the separation rule.