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South Carolina Licensing Bill Hearing Postponed Until Next Week

April 12, 2013

A battle is brewing in South Carolina’s state legislature over a bill to expand the number of liquor licenses allowed per retail operator. If the bill succeeds, retailers would be able to hold seven licenses each in South Carolina, up from the current three.

The bill was expected to come before the South Carolina senate’s judiciary committee this week, but was postponed and is now scheduled to be taken up next Tuesday.

Total Wine & More, which already operates three stores in the state, is among the bill’s backers, asserting that the three-license limit is an example of protectionism that hurts the consumer.

The ABC Stores of South Carolina trade group, which opposes the bill, says mom-and-pop package stores will be run out of business if Total Wine, Costco, Walmart and other chains expand their presence in the state.

Some retailers say the postponement could help the ABC Stores of South Carolina galvanize opposition to the proposal, although Total Wine has also been aggressive in lobbying for passage.

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