If you’ve followed my blog over the past months you’ve read my take on the controversy over allowing supermarkets and other licensed merchants to sell wine. The liquor store owners have mounted a thus far successful opposition to the concept by raising fears that such a measure would hurt them financially and that it would contribute to underage drinking. We ‘ve very critical of the latter claim and suggested a solution to the former — that liquor stores be allowed to sell beer and other products.
Now a bill incorporating my suggestion has been introduced into the Legislature. Sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, “The Wine Industry and Liquor Store Revitalization Act” (S5787/A8632) offers a comprehensive compromise solution that deserves serious consideration.
Krueger argues this is needed to move New York State out of a 17th century approach to alcohol sales into the 21st century in a guest column on The Empire Page.
The bill would allow liquor store owners to “sell items complementary to their business, gift baskets, mixers and sodas, and food products.” I urge the Legislature to include beer sales in order to equal the playing field.
Additional provisions would expand the hours that liquor stores can be open — i.e., removing the last vestiges of the ‘blue laws’ that outlawed alcohol sales on Sundays, end the prohibition against owning more than one liquor store, and allow grocery stores to sell wine for “off-premises consumption”.
This bill forms the basis for an equitable solution. The liquor store owners would be wise to accept this compromise. The issue will not go away and their fallacious argument about increasing underage drinking will not carry the day.