Brooklyn’s independent liquor stores under threat
Liquor store owners in Brooklyn are concerned that a new bill, allowing supermarkets to gain a licence to sell wine, could threaten business.
Describing their worries, off licence owners revealed in local reports that if the senate bill is passed, it could lead to a stark price competition, potentially pushing the smaller independently-owned stores out of business entirely.
Speaking about the situation, Michael Correra, the head of Metropolitan Package Store Association, which represents over 3,300 independent liquor stores across the state, said: “We don’t need more wine available. It’s not necessary to have wine for purchase in multiple locations. You don’t need to take your kids to the grocery store and see a big display of wine for sale there. We have enough. There is a reason that the system we have now works,”
Correra, who is also the owner of an independent liquor store in Brooklyn Heights, explained that the legislation would affect small stores and potentially put many people out of work. He also insisted that consumers are already able to get the wine they need and don’t need more places to offer it.
Correra explained: “I’m only allowed to sell two products – wine and liquor. Wine is the most profitable and I make 80% of my sales from wine alone. If people go elsewhere to buy their wine, I may as well shut down my business, because I don’t see how I could make a profit then.”
He went on to admit that if the bill was approved, he would struggle to pay all of his 11 employees, some of whom have been working for him for around 15 years.
Correra said: “If wine is available in grocery stores, that isn’t going to generate new jobs in the community. It will only lead to a huge loss of jobs.”
The senate bill is being sponsored by state senator Liz Krueger, who represents Midtown East in Manhattan, who has tried to introduce the bill for years without success, largely due to pushback from the independent stores.
Krueger added: “I have been championing this issue – allowing consumers to buy wine in their local grocery stores – for many years. When friends come to visit from places like Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania or DC, they’re often dismayed to discover the law won’t let them buy wine in the grocery store. But it’s time to change that.”
Krueger insisted that the legislation would in fact help boost the wine industry and noted how many grocery stores already sell beer, suggesting that if this has not affected business then the impact would likely be minimal.