New York State lawmakers consider bill to allow grocery stores to sell wine

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
NY lawmakers consider bill to allow grocery stores to sell wine
New York lawmakers are considering a bill to allow grocery stores in the state to sell wine.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York State lawmakers are mulling over a bill to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores.

Right now, wine can only be sold in liquor stores and wineries.

Similar bills have been introduced before.

Forty states allow wine to be sold in grocery stores.

Sponsors are hoping to pass the bill before the legislative session ends next month.

The Bill was proposed by New York State Assembly Banking Committee Chair Pamela Hunter (D-Syracuse) and State Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan).

"Consumers want the convenience of purchasing wine in grocery stores - where they buy their food and other beverages, such as beer. It's good for consumers, and it's good for a critical New York industry," Assemblymember Hunter said. "Upstate New York - like the East End of Long Island - has so many vineyards and wineries, both old and new, that would benefit from being able to sell and promote their New York products in grocery stores across the state.

The bill would not include convenience stores, gas stations, drug stores, or big box stores.

"I have been championing this issue - allowing consumers to buy wine in their local grocery stores - for many years. When friends come to visit from places like Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or DC, they're often dismayed to discover the law won't let them buy wine in the grocery store," Senator Krueger said. "But it's time to change that this year."

Under the proposed bill, grocery stores would receive additional incentives to sell New York wines.

But, not everyone is in favor. Organizations representing thousands of New York businesses involved in the beverage industry sent a letter to members of the legislature urging them not to co-sponsor or otherwise support the measure.

Empire Merchants, LLC, Empire Merchants North, LLC, Metropolitan Package Store Association, New York State Beer Wholesalers, New York State Liquor Store Association, Retailers Alliance of New York, Inc., and Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits said in part, "This misguided idea has been raised and rejected many times for good reason. Weakening the law to allow wine in grocery stores will devastate our small community businesses, increase underage drinking, contribute to premature deaths, and help Amazon/Whole Foods and other large multinational corporations in their effort to monopolize the wine & spirits market."

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