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The Madness of New York Liquor Laws

July 11, 2017

There is a voice in my head telling me not to complain. It says, “Be happy for the good things you have, and don’t focus on the things that you lack.”

But here we are. In a vacation house. Three families. One from New York. One from New Jersey. One from D.C. Once again, this annual vacation among friends finds us in New York. Last year we were up in the Adirondacks. This year we’re closer to the things of man further south in the Hudson Valley.

One of the great joys of these trips are the excursions for hunting and gathering. Mostly these involve exploring the regional markets, looking for delicious things to bring to the homestead, that can somehow be incorporated into meals for twelve people.

Somewhere at a farmers market in Dutchess county we found a small batch traditional Lithuanian honey liqueur producer who was pouring both samples of the spirit, and tastes of a cocktail she whipped up.

There’s no two ways about this. It’s awesome. And one thing is also very clear. Allowing beer, wine, and spirits sales at farmers markets has not unraveled the fabric of our society.

Which as far as I can tell means the Governor has some explaining to do.

My friends are incredulous about the fact that Trader Joe’s can only sell wine at one location in the entire state. And they kind of chuckled about how the Trader Joe’s wine store had to be its own separate entity.

And I understand there are a couple things going on here. So let’s take the single license holder and single retail facility off the table for the time being. Let’s just go down the path of why we can’t buy wine where we buy food. You know, like they do in most the rest of the civilized world.

In this case, “civilized” simply means those places that haven’t banned alcohol entirely.

Seriously, what would happen if a supermarket sold wine? Well, there are a few concerns. One is that it would give minors greater access to intoxicants. Another is that it could make the purchase of booze easier for those who might be problem drinkers.

But the New York liquor laws get worse. Because not only can you definitely not sell spirits where you sell food, you can’t even sell mixers in a liquor store. Because if that happened, people might just pour their whiskey right in their soda cans and be drinking highballs on the street.

Maybe that would happen.

Do you know where it wasn’t happening though? At the farmers market. Were there were plenty of kids. Lots of food. And a bunch of stuff that could serve as mixers.

It’s time to tear down the old and archaic liquor laws and make wine, beer, cider, and spirit sales much more friendly for New York consumers. Because the current state of affairs is simply madness. And I challenge anyone to show me otherwise.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 11, 2017 11:23 am

    I assume it has less to do with the reasons you mention and more to do with the interests of liquor store owners.

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