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New York Considers Allowing Wine Sales in Grocery Stores

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New York State Liquor Authority

Because everyone loves a heartwarming story about the legal adventures of the wine industry, I present for your consideration New York’s bombastic attempt to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores. Fasten your seat belts people, things are about to get crazy…

According to ABC News:
[Governor David] Paterson’s plan to have New York join the 35 states that allow supermarket wine sales included more compromises for liquor stores, many of which have long opposed the idea. The governor estimated that a store franchise fee could bring New York $92 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Grocery stores, some wineries and grape growers, and other businesses were elated at the new proposal. Paterson attempted to sweeten the deal for opponents by allowing liquor stores to sell directly to restaurants and other retailers, put an ATM on premises and open more than one store.

If 35 states are already successfully embracing wine sales in grocery stores, then is this move really all that epic? There are always going to be glaring competitive disadvantages in a beverage industry rooted in baseless regulation (see “dry counties“), but when those competitive disadvantages translate into bad business that hurts consumers in the name of supporting earlier flawed models, things get a little silly.

The good news is that this change is going to be made in New York. BOOM. I said it. Maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but significant trends in the industry point towards loosening and relaxing booze laws, especially with the alcohol industry being one of the few industries actually generating jobs, growth, and tax revenues.


  1. Thomas Pellechia | Thursday, January 21, 2010

    What makes this move epic is the proportion to which the retailers association has in the past gone to prevent this from happening but this year finally seems ready to allow it to happen.

    It is in fact conceivable that this idea will float in 2010 in NY–finally.

  2. Erin | Thursday, January 21, 2010

    If I was still living out there I would be doing backflips over this. I had two choices for wine out where I lived, the smelly place with no selection or the one with the smelly perv and a slightly better selection. Go NY!

  3. Facebook User | Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Wow…New York didn’t allow this? I live in Texas and they have for years..and I thought Texas had a stick up it’s ass!

  4. Phil | Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Sure, after we leave NY, this comes up. WTF NEW YORK!

  5. Thomas Pellechia | Friday, January 22, 2010

    Phil and Erin,

    I have a place for sale in the Finger Lakes if you want to return…

  6. Erin | Friday, January 22, 2010

    Thanks Thomas, but this west coast girl is staying put.

  7. Thomas Pellechia | Friday, January 22, 2010

    You know, I forgot to mention that the issue of wine in grocery stores in NY may have never even been an issue for the present governor if it weren’t for the miserable NY economy. He views the change strictly in money terms–it’s a way to establish new licensing fees to the grocery industry franchise. He sees a windfall in the move.

    And Erin, the price is right ;)

  8. Deborah | Thursday, January 28, 2010

    It won’t get through. Too many laws need to be changed first and a chance for the liquor stores to get established. There is no fair playing field for them. All the things for the proposal should have been implemented many years ago. One thing for sure, I wouldn’t be surprised, if it did go through, all those who had to close will form together to sue NY State. They lived by their rules for 75 years.

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