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NY supermarkets push to sell wine, liquor in stores as small businesses fear closure

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  • Staff Report 

In New York, a legislative proposal allowing supermarkets to sell wine has reignited a longstanding debate between convenience for consumers and the survival of local liquor stores. Liquor store operators fears such a measure could be the final straw for small businesses in that space.

Statewide, 75% of New Yorkers surveyed support the idea, seeing the convenience of purchasing wine alongside groceries as a benefit.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

However, liquor store owners argue that this could lead to the closure of hundreds of small businesses, particularly affecting those in upstate areas where stores are destination spots rather than neighborhood fixtures.

The proposed bill, backed by large supermarket chains like Wegmans, includes stipulations such as a minimum store size and a focus on food-related sales to qualify for selling wine, aiming to limit its impact on smaller convenience stores and big box retailers.

State lawmakers and the Business Council of New York State advocate for modernizing the state’s Prohibition-era liquor laws to reflect contemporary consumer habits, pointing to the successful integration of wine sales in grocery stores in 40 other states.