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Bottle shops fight wine in supermarkets
Bottle shops fight wine in supermarkets

Independent bottle shops are gearing up for a battle to keep wine off South Australian supermarket shelves.

They fear the proposed changes will push them out of business and deliver even more power to Coles and Woolworths.

Independent bottleshop owner Breck Waterman has been in the liquor business for 35 years and is worried the proposal allowing supermarkets to sell wine could send his business under.

“This is about the big getting bigger and the small family business being pushed to the side,” he said.

Mr Waterman and other independent bottle shop owners this morning launched a sobering campaign to block the plan.

Wendy Bevan from the SA Liquor Stores Association said: “South Australia is already well-serviced for liquor outlets - with almost 6000 we have got more than the national average per capita.”

The supermarket giants already have a firm grip on the alcohol market.

In South Australia, Coles owns Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice Liquor, while Woolworths operates Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Cellarmasters, and Woolworths Liquor.

The Australian Hotel’s Association says Coles and Woolworths affiliates already made up nearly 60 per cent of total alcohol sales in the country, and fear any potential changes could cause independent retailers to shut down.

“One minute it will be wine, and then we’ll be talking about beer, and then we’ll be talking about spirits in supermarkets, and they (independents) will have close their doors,” Ms Bevan said.

Independent grocers, on the other hand, are supporting the proposal allowing them to sell wine, saying it will help in their battle against the two big supermarkets.

The proposal is out for comment until next month.