Court Rebuffs Challenge to New Arkansas Wine Reform

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Arkansas recently enacted reforms that would allow grocery stores in the state to sell wine (they can already sell beer), but some incumbent liquor store owners sought to challenge the new law via litigation. According to The Arkansas Times, however, a federal judge has rejected a preliminary injunction in the case:

"Federal Judge Brian Miller has denied a request for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit by retail liquor stores attempting to block a state law taking effect Thursday that allows permitted grocery stores to sell all types of wine, not just Arkansas and so-called small batch wines. 

The judge also dismissed the liquor store claims of a U.S. constitutional equal protection violation — that is, that differences in regulation for liquor stores and grocery stores were unfair.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has more than 200 applications for grocery store wine sales under the 2017 law. It was a product of some dickering between grocery stores and so-called county line liquor stores. Those liquor stores went along with the new law in return for a promise that retail grocers wouldn't continue a county-by-county effort to vote "dry" counties wet and thus open them to competition to liquor stores perched at their borders — such as the Conway County liquor stores that do huge business with people from "dry" Faulkner County..."

Read the rest here.

A previous white paper by R Street's Jarrett Dieterle was cited in another article about the Arkansas grocery store battles.