In case you haven't heard...

although I can’t imagine why you haven’t heard: wine in grocery store is dead in New York–again!


Yeah, I saw someone celebrating this on Facebook. He’s actually sold that it would be worse for consumers somehow. You can buy wine out here in grocery stores, drug stores and liquor stores and yet we STILL have some of the best wine shops in the country. Some deep pockets out their taking care of some higher ups me thinks.


'swhat it’s all about, Cris–as always.

i haven’t read the details, but not sure why this would not pass . . . big wholesalers get to sell more wine and make more $; state gets to collect more $ in taxes; consumers get more choices . . .

Thomas - can to shed some light on why passing was NOT a good thing?


I was thinking the same thing - you’d think the wholesalers would have been behind this, checkbook in hand…

Larry, Mike:

First, wholesalers would never be able to maintain the power they now have over retailers if they had to deal with larger and stronger grocery chains.

Second, wholesalers would have to split their deliveries between liquor and wine, and they hate adding to their routes.

Third, wholesalers would lose the little game they play each holiday season to bamboozle liquor stores into buying more and more spirits that don’t sell out by tying their deals to wine volume buying. Grocers wouldn’t be buying spirits.

Fourth, any change is seen by wholesalers as an attack on their protected monopoly.

Fifth, the overall retailers aren’t very bright, but many of them are very lazy.

I can count on, but that would mean saying things that might get me weird emails and the need to call the Attorney Generals’ office, which I understand one or more wineries that supported the grocery concept have had to do after receiving volumes of threats.

Before going public with his proposal, the governor met with the retailer and wholesaler representatives asking them to tell him what they would like in return for supporting his proposal. Their answer was simple: get lost, we like things as they are. They didn’t even have the desire to ask that beer and grocery items be allowed in retail wine and liquor shops.

Then, there is the beer lobby, which was probably really overheated about this proposal. Alcohol can’t bribe grocers for retail floor space the way soft drinks can. That’s why beer is in the back of the store. Wine in grocery stores would inevitably encroach on the shelf space that beer has. The beer lobby was likely dead against the idea. The beer lobby is strong in NY, which is probably why beer and not wine already is sold in grocery stores.

Finally, there are an awful lot of idiots in the NY wine business as well. They support their wholesalers, whose support of NY wine is about as vibrant as the support of farmers asked to allow foxes into their chicken coops. In fact, with the number of retailers dwindling in NY, adding wine to grocery stores would open another avenue for consumers to get wine. The wholesalers persuaded the wineries that grocers would not support local wines–maybe, maybe not; but right now, you have to be Sherlock Holmes to find retailers that support NY wine.

In case nobody noticed, the New York wholesalers all have names ending in a vowel. If everybody follows their lead, nobody gets a decapitated horses head in their bed. HELLO


After Prohibition, the states realized the benefit of the system that flourished during Prohibition so they simply allowed the system to continue, but this time they took their cut in the action…

One more reason - I don’t know if this applies in NY, but does in MA where Liquor Retail licenses are tightly controlled (and the grocery store sale initiative was voted down).

If grocery stores are allowed to sell wine, the big chains will get a distributors license (and sometimes import license) so they can cut out the middlemen and offer wines at better prices and better profit margin for themselves.

The current law only allows an individual or entity to have, I think 3, licenses to sell at retail, and even those 3 are hard to get. This means that it’s not cost effective for the grocery chains to set up their own distributor if only three of their stores can sell wine. If all grocery stores were allowed to sell wine, the chains’ distributors would cut into the current distributors’ business.

What the state doesn’t get, is if all grocery stores were allowed to sell wine and the prices dropped a little, people would be less likely to run across the border for their wines (and beer), increasing sales and tax revenue in MA.


In NY, there are ways to get around the licensing limitations (I know a few fellows who operate multiple liquor stores and restaurants in NYState), but you are correct: grocery chains would have to get the rules changed somewhat in order for them to be comfortable with access to licensing.

Presently in NY, you cannot hold both a distribution and retail license–at least not legally and glaringly on paper. Who knows, maybe that will change, too?

I think MA as the same law about Distributor and Retail Licenses, but they appear to get around that one pretty easy (Martignetti’s sure did). The other problem in MA is there are only so many retail licenses issued per town/city (based on population) and in most towns, they’re all taken. If all grocery stores were allowed to sell beer/wine, that obviously goes out the window and it would be worth it for the grocery stores chains to set up a distributorship.