In the latest attempt in a decades-long effort to bring wines to grocery store shelves, State Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter unveiled their proposal to allow New York supermarkets to sell wine, according to reporting from the Auburn Citizen.
The two New York lawmakers hope the bill will follow in the footsteps of the 40 other states that already allow wine sales in grocery stores. Today, New Yorkers who wish to purchase wine must go to a liquor store or a winery.
Supporters of the bill note that polls conducted over the years show supporters, including a recent Siena College poll which found that 76% of New York voters support allowing consumers to buy wine in grocery stores.
“Consumers want the convenience of purchasing wine in grocery stores — where they buy their food and other beverages, such as beer,” Hunter, D-Syracuse, said. “It's good for consumers and it's good for a critical New York industry.“
Hunter and Krueger also point out that the legislation they introduced is different than the failed bill originally proposed more than a decade ago. The new measure will limit wine sales licenses to full-service grocery stores — not convenience stores, drug stores, or big box stores (i.e. Target and Walmart) like the previous version would have allowed.
It is estimated that roughly 1,900 wine licenses would be issued if the bill were signed into law and all grocers participated. However, the bill proposal doesn’t come without its naysayers.
Stefan Kalogridis, owner of Colvin Wine Merchants in Albany and president of the New York State Liquor Store Association’s board of directors, accused supermarkets of greed and panned the legislation, which he said will lead to the closure of many liquor stores in New York, Auburn Citizen reports.
“A lot of your liquor stores are anchored by supermarkets,” Kalogridis said. “I have a Hannaford next door to me. If Hannaford carries wine, what is going to happen to me? Am I going to be able to compete with Hannaford? No.“
Meanwhile, many grocery stores are in support of the change. Nelson Eusebio, director of government relations for the National Supermarket Association, believes that allowing wine sales in supermarkets will be great for customers and independent store owners.
“It's time to get this done,” Hunter said. “It's time for wine, New York.”
What’s more, a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul said she will review the legislation if it is approved by the state legislature.