Liquor Stores Fight For Their Right To Party

By Brian Ries
|  Friday, Jan 30, 2009  |  Updated 9:40 AM CDT
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Should large grocery stores in be allowed to sell wine?

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A proposal in New York State's budget may expand your options for where to buy wine, but the liquor stores aren't having it.

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An epic battle over who gets to sell you wine in New York is building up, as liquor stores cry foul over a proposal "slipped into Gov. David Paterson's state budget," allowing stores like Wal-Mart, Costco, and Whole Foods to carry wine, a right previously given only to small-time liquor stores spread out state-wide.

According to Crain's New York, "Some 2,700 liquor store owners on Wednesday formed a coalition called The Last Store on Main Street to lobby state legislators. The group claims that 1,000 small businesses, representing 4,000 jobs, would fail if food stores are allowed to sell wine." The grocery stores counter that claim by dismissing the liquor stores' defense as "protectionism at its worst," or, a "monopoly on the product."

The proposal made it into Paterson's budget because each store ponies up around $7,000 in licensing fees, a small figure that when applied to the 19,000 businesses in play, adds up to quite a delicious sounding financial injection to the state's finances.

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