Nabe Liquor Merchants to Gov: No Wine in Supermarkets

Local liquor store owners don’t want to see grocery stores in New York State get the right to sell wine as per a provision in Governor Paterson’s proposed budget: Grocers versus…: “Obviously we don’t want to see this happen,” said Michael Correra, chair of the Metropolitan Package Store Association (MPSA) and owner of Michael Towne Wines and Spirits, 73 Clarke Street in Brooklyn Heights.

“We have been selling wine since Prohibition in 1933 and now because of a promise the groceries made to the Governor, 1,000 such stores statewide would go out of business in the first year,” he said.

Correra said the change would also have a social impact as studies have shown that in states where wine is more readily available, DWI deaths and underage drinking are at considerably higher levels.

James Benedetto, owner of Scotto’s Wine Cellar, 318 Court Street, which he said has been open at its location since Prohibition was repealed, is concerned about labor laws and the cost of enforcement.

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  • Luke C

    Like Michaeltowne couldn’t compete with Gristede’s? The supermarket so bad that Peas & Pickles thrives a mere 50 feet away? Most NYC supermarkets aren’t big enough to offer a selection of wines to compete with even the smallest merchants.

  • Pierrepont

    Fairway in Red Hook could do some serious damage, though. Can’t imagine that the second floor of that building is used to its full potential. With the flick of a switch, every wine shop within five miles of that place would be decimated.

  • BklynJace

    Such nonsense — away with this pointless Prohibition-era relic and the shameless fearmongering.

    Besides, Michael Towne has nothing to worry about. I go there for most all my wine purchases, and I’d go there over the grocery store even if it meant paying a little more, because they know wine and offer a terrific selection and service. And I bet a lot of other people would, too. They don’t need a crutch — they can compete just fine on the merits.

  • brooklynite

    probably more worried that if supermarkets are allowed then trader joe’s will start selling their 2 buck chuck (or rather 4 buck chuck in NYC). Now some of you might be saying “how good could that wine actually be???”….. well it has won multiple awards.

    Even if they stop selling wine, won’t people still have to go there for their hard liquor??

  • north heights res

    I wouldn’t at all mind having an alternative to the rapacious pricing at Michael Towne. Their prices can be 20 – 30% higher than other NYC stores, including those in Manhattan. I’d prefer shopping at a locally-owned store, but their prices are just outrageous.

  • Just a Neighbor

    There are lots of other shops in the area besides Michael Towne. I personally find the service to be very good at Montague and Heights Chateau, and have no problems spending my money there for that reason.

    What nobody has commented on is the problems posed to businesses outside of the Heights. If you’re looking at small mom-and-pop stores throughout Long Island and the five boroughs, most of them would be out of business within a year should supermarkets sell wine. Unless they are a destination for boutique products (in which case they’d have a chance to survive), many of them simply fulfill basic consumer needs and would never be able to compete with supermarkets.

    With unemployment rates as high as they are these days, it would be such a shame to see so many hard-working small business owners and their also be put out of work.

  • Andrew Porter

    I noticed a small selection of wines on one shelf in the Gristede’s recently, and thought, “Gee, isn’t that against the law?”

    You may have noticed that although some Trader Joe’s do sell wine — think $2 Chuck — the Atlantic/Court store doesn’t have a liquor license.

  • c

    Being that my parents, own a wine and liquor store, I am NOT in favor of this legislation. Allowing supermarkets to sell wine would result in many small retailers and mom-and-pop stores to shut their doors, leaving those business owners out of job. Whereas regardless if the new legislation is passed, supermarkets will be able to stand on their two feet.

    My parents have been in this business for over 20 years, and it is all they own and know. It is really distrubing to be that something that they have built from scratch with great passion will be gone. Please vote against supermarkets selling wine.