Local businesses concerned about bill allowing direct-to-consumer liquor shipping

Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - From the distillery directly to your door. Lawmakers in Albany are considering legislation that would allow liquor to be shipped right to your house, much like wine and beer already can be.

Some local liquor stores and distilleries are concerned about being undercut by out-of-state sellers.

Downstate Senator James Skoufis (D. 42nd District) is sponsoring a bill that would allow liquor to be shipped to you directly from a distributor or distillery.

It’s a worry for Jim Malone, the manager of Watertown’s Bargain Wine & Liquor, which opened its doors last August.

I would be remiss to think that letting out-of-state competition come in to go against us would help us at all,” he said.

The New York State Liquor Store Association agrees. The LSA says allowing direct-to-consumer shipping upends the playing field.

“It’s a grab by big businesses, the Amazons of the world, to come in and hurt brick and mortar businesses,” said Malone.

Liquor stores are not the only industry to be concerned about the pending legislation.

Dark Island Spirits in Alexandria Bay is one of more than 200 distilleries across the Empire State that could be affected if the bills is passed.

“From our perspective, this is not a small business-friendly bill. This is a big business-friendly bill,” said Michael Young, tasting room manager for Dark Island Spirits.

Young says many of the distilleries are in favor of being able to ship directly to their customers, but only in-state sales, not allowing spirits from other states to be sold in New York.

“If we could get our shipping rights like the wineries have within the state of New York, that would be exceptional, but that is not this bill,” he said.

In a statement to 7 News, the bill’s sponsor said, “Direct-to-consumer shipping is a model that’s been hugely successful for our wine producers without impacting wine shop sales and without causing safety concerns.”