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This budget season, New York’s lawmakers have wrestled with familiar issues. Minimum wage, school aid, aid to municipalities and taxes on the rich. For the first time I can remember, they did not discuss wine in grocery stores.

Wegmans, despite its considerable clout and lobbying dollars, has not been able to uncork opposition. A key player has not given any support wine in grocery stores – Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Sign for Whitehouse Liquor in Wegmans

Sign for Whitehouse Liquor in Wegmans

With wine in grocery stores on hiatus, many have speculated Wegmans will try to get the state to allow multiple licenses. Right now, state law allows one liquor store per person and it does not allow chains. Critics say Wegmans has set up a de facto chain using adjacent stores run by various family members. Wegmans advertises for Whitehouse Liquor, which is located next to its Marketplace store. When you visit Century Wines in Pittsford, you’re asked to swipe your Shopper’s Club. This stuff possibly rides the line between what’s legal and what’s not in our tightly regulated liquor market – and it drives independent stores insane.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Wegmans is leading the charge to loosen restrictions on who can sell beer.

Links of the Day:

– A lawsuit alleges Wegmans lent chef David Bouley $7 million to keep his restaurant business afloat.

– Albany police held a training exercise at a housing project – complete with fake blood – and scared the heck out of residents.

– Rochester’s amateur photographers are undercutting the professionals.

– Close to 10 percent of milk produced in New York State goes to the Chobani plant.

– New York farmers are installing wind turbines to protect their apple crops from frost.

– Hudson Valley Community College cut the hours of adjunct instructors to avoid paying them health insurance.

7 Responses to No Sign of WIG

  1. March 25, 2013 at 10:44 am Hahvahd St responds:

    Why can’t we just stop with the stupid separation of beer/liquor/wine and just sell them all in any convenience store, grocery store etc.? You could say it will hurt small stores, but both Wegmans and small stores sell beer and both are doing fine. People who are only buying alcohol will probably go into small stores, and those getting groceries + alcohol will go to Wegmans.

  2. Good, there is no reason to put so many liquor store owners and employees out of work just so the Wegmans can make some extra cash. It’s not going to help NY state wineries and it won’t help anyone but Danny Wegman line his pockets.

  3. What do you have against Wegmans? I know they closed a store in your neighborhood, but come on, where’s your objectivity here?
    A Whitehouse sign in Wegmans? Another independent company. So what’s the problem?
    And they’re a private company. Who’s business is it who they lend money to. It’s hardly an issue.
    As an aside, I was recently in Ohio on business. I walked into what I thought was a liquor store, only to find a store that sold it all: liquor, wine, cigs, snacks, lottery, a 30foot long beer cooler, all in a store the size of one of our average liquor stores. The owmers’ premise was to sell whatever his customers needed to have a party. So why can’t we do the same kind of thing in NY? Because too many liquor store owners refuse to look at the opportunities available, rather than cry about Wegmans ot Topps putting them out of business.

  4. March 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm Cary Barnhart responds:

    I winter in Florida where wine and liquor is sold in grocery stores, BJ’s, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and other pharmacies and stand alone liquor stores (which can sell anything else they want to sell). No one is hurting for business or complaining. Furthermore the prices are lower than in NYS and retailers are allowed to have sale prices and volume discounts. I never found rebates as you do in NYS. I might also add that the prices were consistent no matter where you went. I just don’t get the NYS mentality on the WIG issue. If it’s wine and liquor you want you will most likely shop for the convenience of a smaller store which, by the way, I did.

  5. Jim, the liquor stores dont have that mentality because they cant. Go into a liquor store and ask them why they can carry beer, cigs, snacks, shot glasses,pop, and mixers that don’t contain alcohol. They can’t. You have no idea on the regulations liquor stores are under. For it to be even fair to these business owners, they’d need a 10 year head start to diversify or start a chain before grocery stores are allowed to carry wine to even have a chance to compete. But maybe you’d be willing to have the business you owned get gutted so wegmans can boost their margins a bit. You really don’t want to retire, keep your house, pr feed your family do you?

  6. March 25, 2013 at 7:34 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    Wine should not be sold in grocery or convieniece stores, in my opionion, in fact I feel as though beer and wine coolers and all alcohol should be sold only in specialty alcohol stores, just as the law in Pennsylvania requires, though I don’t agree with their law that wine and hard liquor should be sold only in state stores and no private store, but I don’t live there.

    • March 26, 2013 at 8:05 am Hahvahd St responds:

      The “alcohol-only” store is such a pain in a**, I’ve lived in Maryland where they have those and they have high prices, crappy selection, and terrible hours. Just sell everything everywhere. So many states do that now, why can’t NY get on that bandwagon.

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