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Wine could be sold in grocery stores, but lawmakers are split on it

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  • Staff Report 

A proposed bill that could see wine sold in New York grocery stores has drawn mixed responses since its introduction to the state legislature on May 10.

If approved, the bill would bring New York in line with 40 other states where wine sales in grocery stores are permitted. Many customers have welcomed the proposal, citing added convenience, and hope New York will be the 41st state to adopt this model.

However, the proposal has also raised concerns among wine and liquor store owners who fear their businesses will be significantly affected.

Independent wine and liquor store owners are particularly apprehensive, predicting severe impacts on their businesses if the proposal is passed. Nelson Habecker, owner of East Avenue Liquors in Downtown Rochester, and Matt Yaeger, co-owner of Pinnacle Wine and Liquor, have voiced their opposition, emphasizing that the change could drive many small retailers out of business, potentially affecting not only store owners but also their employees, delivery drivers, and sales representatives. Conversely, grocery chains such as Wegmans have expressed support for the proposal, arguing that it would provide more convenience for New York consumers and create additional jobs.

A group of organizations representing thousands of New York wine and liquor businesses has already written to lawmakers, urging them to reject the bill. The legislation, introduced by local senator Jeremy Cooney, is currently under legislative committee review.