Monday, April 04, 2011

I noticed this in today's newspaper. No evidence? Or is the AG not looking very hard? Maybe no one is talking? They sure weren't too careful a couple of years ago, when I was in Empire, browsing the NYS wines. I asked a man who worked there (not one of the young clerks, based on what he said he must have been more involved in the business, perhaps the manager or owner) whether they carried one of my favorite Finger Lakes wines, Fox Run?

He said no, and he wouldn't be carrying it ever because the vintner supported changing the law so that wine can be sold in supermarkets. He said why shouldn't liquor store owners punish them for that position by refusing to sell their wine? The way he said it sounded like he expected me to be sympathetic, which I am not.

I love Fox Run, have even visited the winery. It is extremely hard to find in the Capital District, and maybe that's why. It makes me mad to think that some type of orchestrated effort on the part of store owners is harming Fox Run.

I would also really like the convenience of wine in the grocery store. I'm sure it would generate tax revenue, and be good for the agricultural sector. I think it is a win-win all around.

I said nothing to the guy at Empire, but I was extremely uncomfortable. It seems so inappropriate for a store owner to spout off politically to a customer. I happen to know that liquor stores mostly make a fortune. And while I might be able to gin up some sympathy for a mom and pop operation on Main Street, I feel not a bit of concern for a behemoth like Empire. Sure, it is extremely competitive both in price and selection. Efficient place, hard not to be impressed when you go there.

But it is doing to small local stores what big boxes did to smaller retailers - weakening them, putting some on the verge of going out of business. So why would I feel bad if supermarkets competed with Empire? What goes around comes around, if you ask me. The icing on the cake is that it would benefit the NYS wine industry.

So I don't buy that there was no evidence. Something else is going on, likely something borderline unethical. The liquor store lobby is more powerful than the wineries. That's too bad.

No comments: