Businesses make economic argument for wine in food stores

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Citing a recent national report on the economic impact of selling wine in food stores, the New York Wine Industry Association, Wine Grape Growers Association, Farm Bureau, Business Council and allied businesses are asking lawmakers to adopt and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sign legislation to allow the purchase of wine in grocery stores. Bills to do this have been around for a few years.

Sens. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Chemung County, and Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, are sponsoring the Wine Industry and Liquor Store Revitalization Act in their house. Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, is carrying the bill in the Assembly.

“We must stay focused on keeping New York’s wine industry competitive and wine in grocery stores enjoys widespread support as a key to achieve this goal,” O’Mara said in a statement. “We keep missing this opportunity to create thousands of jobs, strengthen agriculture, and generate significant new revenue without raising taxes or borrowing.”

The Food Marketing Industry’s “2012 Economic Impact of Allowing Shoppers to Purchase Wine in Food Stores” report said package stores have not lost business in states where consumers can buy wine in grocery stores. In fact, package stores continue successfully and increase in number, the analysis found. Another finding is more than 50 percent of wine sold in food stores is purchased by women who are uncomfortable in conventional package stores.

The economic impact of allowing wine sales in food stores nationwide would be 168,000 potential jobs, $7.2 billion in wages and billions of dollars of additional revenue to federal, state and local governments, the study said. Seventeen states, including New York, do not allow wine in food stores. Possibly half of liquor stores sell New York wine, according to the trade groups and businesses.

“As our members and their customers work to recover from this difficult recession, we feel the time has come for states to remove the barriers and enable food retailers to create more jobs in local communities, help consumers reduce their daily travel needs and provide new sources of revenues for overburdened state and local budgets,” Patrick Davis, vice president of state government relations at the Food Marketing Institute, said in a statement.

The Wine Industry and Liquor Store Revitalization Act would allow liquor store owners to have more than one store, sell speciality cheeses, mixers and other products, the groups said.

Fmi Wine Study-1

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  1. Businesses fail for a variety of reasons. There are fewer liquor stores in NY today than ten years ago, and the decline obviously had nothing to do with availability of wine in grocery stores. Perhaps some owners were burdened by excessive state regulation, maybe others were simply ready to retire; who knows?

    The fact is, now there are more wine producers in the state but fewer retail outlets for their products. (And don’t forget that growers and most wineries are ‘mom and pop’ operations, too!) Liquor stores failed to see the writing on the wall ten years ago, but they have no excuse for not taking a different tack NOW to plan for a successful future, whether by expanding the floor space or finding other ways to increase traffic and satisfy customers.

    Like it or not, the State will eventually pass this legislation because it is broke and needs the influx of cash from sales and licensing.