Thursday, February 5, 2009

Liquor Store vs Grocery Store for local wine sales

I was in the liquor store yesterday purchasing my Piedmont wine for WBW #54 which the topic is "A passion for Piedmont." and I noticed a petition against the proposal for wine sales in grocery stores. (WBW will be held February 18 - so no sneak peeking yet to my choice.)

In New York, the Governor is proposing legalizing wine sales in grocery stores. This is part of his new balanced budget. What does this mean. A few thing and you can look at it a few different ways.

What it means for the liquor store - less traffic as more people will be purchasing their wine with their daily trip to the grocery store. Since grocery stores are chains, their purchasing power will be greater, hence they will sell wine at a cheaper price. BUT...for those seeking a wine that is exclusive, higher quality or library wine, they will have to go to the liquor or wine store, as the grocery store won't have that type of selection. I also question the knowledge base of the clerk at the grocery store vs the liquor store.

What it means for the local wineries - Two things. If the local winery is proactive in its sales it can be tremendous. They will have new outlets to sell their wine over a greater geographic area. However the flip side is some of the small wineries can't compete with the grocery stores and it will be more difficult for them to get their product into a store like Price Chopper or Shoprite where they buyer is miles away. Having relationships with the local liquor / wine stores is how many of the small wineries get their product out, and if this law gets passed, it might force the small wine stores to close their doors. In doing so the small local winery will lose their outlet to sell their wines locally.

Local wineries can sit back and sulk and fight or they can move before their cheese does, be creative and work together to gain more exposure in a larger market.
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