So I’m on vacation in New York City this week, so I’m going to just leave you with a teaser for a post next week.
The United States is a patchwork of liquor laws. Each state is different. Here in California we have some of the most liberal, largely due to our influential wine industry. Some states are very restrictive, requiring they alcohol to be purchased in state run stores only, as is the case in Pennsylvania. Most states are somewhere in between.
New York has an odd, unexpected retail situation. Beer can be purchased at grocery stores and specialty beer shops, but wine can only be purchased in wine and liquor shops. The beer license is easier to get, the wine and spirits license more difficult. So, on the plus side, every wine shop sells liquor. On the minus side, many of these stores have a wine selection that is largely limited to the wines carried by the distributors who also carry liquor. They can be the good wines from these large distributors, but they almost by necessity won’t be distinctive. It takes a particularly passionate wine monger to seek out the unique and rare.
Over the next couple days I’ll be interviewing a few shopkeepers, getting an understanding of the three tier system in NYC, and present what I learn in the context of a discussion about how much influence the large mega-distributors have in terms of wine selection in both California and New York.