The proponents of wine sales in grocers and convenience stores have come out in favor of a solution that I first advocated February 12 — allowing liquor stores to sell food and supplies. They don’t go into specifics, but the key is that liquor stores must be allowed to sell beer and possibly cigarettes. Unless liquor stores can sell beer, it’s not a fair compromise.
Advocating this compromise comes largely as a result of the terrible beating the liquor store owners are administering to Governor Paterson and grocery store owners by associating wine sales in grocery stores with teenage drinking and drunk driving. The extent to which the liquor store owners are willing to go to stretch the truth on those issues is startling. They continue to put forth claims that lack any basis in fact with plenty of counter evidence from the 35 states that currently permit grocers to sell wine.
The liquor store owners have also blackmailed some NYS wine growers into supporting them since if the proposal is quashed the wine growers will have no leverage to use to get their wines into the state’s 2700 liquor stores. This despite the fact that very few liquor stores make an effort to feature NYS wines.
Earlier this year, the wine growers agreed to cancel their annual April NYS wine celebration at the request of the liquor stores who then created their own NYS Wine Month. One winery owner responded by saying “Does this mean liquor stores who threatened to dump my wines in the street for supporting the Governor will now start celebrating my product?”
The fact of the matter is monopolies are never good for consumers and in this case their monopoly is not good for the liquor store owners either. It has put them in a position of false strength which they will lose sooner or later. They’d be smarter getting something in return than to continue to use these hard ball tactics and make enemies who will come back again and again until they win.