N.Y. Trying Again to Get Wine in Supermarkets

Legislation has been introduced in both the New York state senate and assembly to allow wine in grocery stores, after a similar proposal was cut from the state budget last spring amid complaints from liquor store owners, according to published reports.

The latest measures, sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, in the senate, and Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, in the assembly, would shorten the length of the permitting process at the state Liquor Authority, the Albany, N.Y., Business Review reported, adding that the legislation would bring in an estimated $159 million over the next two years in franchise and license fees, in addition to excise and sales taxes, for the financially troubled state.

The legislation would additionally amend the Liquor Authority’s licensing system to allow store owners to get licenses more quickly; permit liquor stores to have ATMs on-site and to sell such items as non-carbonated drinks, snacks and ice; lengthen hours of operation for liquor store; beef up identification requirements for people purchasing alcohol.

In spite of several concessions to liquor stores included in the bills, such the ability to carry products beyond wine and liquor, The Last Store on Main Street coalition remains opposed to any measure that would allow wine to be sold in supermarkets, coalition spokesman Michael McKeon told the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle. “This is just another attempt by grocery stores, the big-box stores, to shutter small businesses across the state,” he said.

The sale of alcoholic beverages in New York is currently regulated by “blue laws” enacted during the prohibition era in the early 20th century.
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