Assemblyman Christopher Friend (R- Big Flats) this week joined state lawmakers at a roundtable discussion about the sale of wine in New York grocery stores. Legislation has been introduced in both the state Senate and Assembly to allow for the sale of wine in grocery stores. Joining lawmakers to discuss the topic and legislation were winemakers, consumer advocates, business leaders and representatives of the food, agriculture, and tourism industries.
The Southern Tier contains some of the states finest wineries, said Friend. I support efforts to increase opportunities for our winemakers to sell their products throughout the state. This is not only a chance to give our wine producers a greater opportunity to compete, but it will be an amazingly beneficial venture for the state. Allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores would increase the availability of local products, generate an estimated $346.7 million in new revenue in the first year alone, and would be an invaluable job creator.
Those in attendance touted the economic advantages of allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores. The pro-growth legislation would help winemakers cope with the declining number of liquor stores, which has meant a declining opportunity to sell their products to consumers. Many in the industry also believe it will lead to greater innovation and give New Yorkers more opportunities to buy local products. One group that has consistently voiced strong opposition to this plan is liquor store owners.
I understand the concerns of liquor store owners who feel like this legislation will push them out of the market, said Friend. I do commend the authors of the bill for including considerations for this group, such as increasing the type of products liquor stores can sell and allowing liquor-store owners to own more than one store and join cooperatives.
Selling wine in grocery stores will increase the prominence of New York state wineries, while greatly benefiting the states economy, said Friend.