ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Major changes to New York’s wine and spirits industry were proposed this legislative session, but the big package of bills wasn’t passed by lawmakers in its totality. Some industry insiders are relieved not all parts of the omnibus bill went through last week, while others believe it’s time for a new approach to the adult beverage business.
“We’re caught in this mindset that, somehow, the alcohol beverage and control law is New York State is sacrosanct, and it’s not,” said Paul Zuber, Executive Vice President of the Business Council of New York State,” it was written in 1930-ish right after prohibition. Society has changed.”
Zuber thinks it’s time to revamp some state liquor laws he considers to be “antiquated.” He pointed to some recent progress, like the law changed several years ago allowing New Yorkers to be served drinks before noon at Sunday brunch.
This session, a bill including numerous new wine and liquor proposals made it to committee. Part of the bill that raised concerns from liquor stores would have allowed grocery stores to sell wine. It did not make it to a vote.
The Business Council is disappointed by this, claiming consumers want the option to add wine to their grocery cart. However, State Liquor Store Association President Stefan Kalogridis, also the owner of Colvin Wine Merchants, said if consumers knew it could hurt shops like his, they’d agree with him that it’s a bad idea.
“We all compete against each other, and there’s no public outcry that nobody can find liquor or wine in New York State,” Kalogridis said.
However, he is on board with the passage of a bill last week that will allow liquor stores to open at 10 A.M. and close at 10 P.M. on Sundays. While Albany County law will still require him to close at 9 P.M., he believes there will be a customer base that will like the option to come in early.
“The extra two hours will help. Will we do more business? I don’t think so, because people aren’t going to drink more if we’re open more hours,” Kalogridis said, “it’s more of a convenience.”
Liquor stores can start opening earlier and closing later once the bill is signed by the governor.