New York Proposal Would Permit Wine Sales at Multiple Grocery Stores

New York will join 35 other states that permit wine to be sold in multiple grocery stores if one of the revenue actions in New York state’s 2009 budget proposal is approved.

NEW YORK — New York will join 35 other states that permit wine to be sold in multiple grocery stores if one of the revenue actions in the Empire State’s 2009 budget proposal is approved.

While individual New York legislators have introduced similar bills over the years, this is the first time the proposal is part of an omnibus budget proposal, said Jim Rogers, president of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, Albany. Rogers said the FIA supports the plan, but wants to see full details of what it entails, and mainly what the franchise fee will be. To sell wine, supermarkets would pay the one-time fee that is based on volume.

Current New York licensing laws restrict supermarkets from obtaining more than one license to sell wine. The plan comes at a time when about 70% of New Yorkers want to buy wine in supermarkets, said Rogers. “If approved, this will enable our members to sell wine and cross-merchandise it with other food items,” he told SN.

The budget proposal also includes a controversial 18% tax on fruit drinks that contain less than 70% of natural fruit juice and non-dietetic soft drinks, sodas and beverages. “By increasing the price, it will discourage individuals, especially children and teenagers, from excessive consumption of these beverages,” the executive budget states. If approved, revenues will be directed for health care initiatives.

The American Beverage Association, a Washington-based trade association, said it’s unfair to single out one food product as the cause for obesity. “There is no science or logic that justifies it,” the ABA said in a statement. “Rather, we need to focus on promoting balanced eating habits and more physical activity. Until we get our kids exercising more, the scales will be tipped against our next generation.”

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