Bodegas targeted for 'Nutcracker' sales

January 4, 2010 4:22:29 PM PST
Bodegas across New York City are being warned not to sell so-called "Nutcracker" alcohol beverages to underage drinkers. The drinks, usually a fruit or sugary juice mixed with vodka, rum or tequila, are the focus of a crackdown by Governor David Paterson aimed to prevent kids from having easy access to liquor.

The governor's office released the following statement regarding the Nutcracker sales: "Governor Paterson has directed Chairman Rosen [of the state Liquor Authority] to swiftly and decisively deal with any retailer found to be illegally selling alcohol to minors. These reports are certainly alarming, and the governor takes them very seriously."

Other public figures have stepped up to denounce the sales of the drink, including new Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

"If the authorities don't stop it, I may organize parent squads to go in and protest the stores," Sharpton told the New York Daily News.

The coalition "Last Store on Main Street" on Monday praised efforts to crack down on underage drinking by eliminating the illegal sales of the Nutcrackers.

The group also warned the effectiveness of the effort would be severely limited if Governor Paterson moves forward with his plan to legalize wine sales in every deli, corner store, gas station, bodega and grocery store in New York state.

"The governor deserves credit for cracking down on bodegas selling illegal alcohol to teens, but he should also recognize that legalizing the sale of wine in bodegas is completely inconsistent with those efforts," said Michael Correra, a coalition leader and executive director of the Metropolitan Package Store Association.