New York Booze Might Be Getting More Expensive Soon

Get ready to downgrade to this. (Image via Flickr/Luke McGuff)
Get ready to downgrade to this. (Image via Flickr/Luke McGuff)

An unfortunate little item from earlier this morning: Gothamist reports on a new bill up for consideration in Albany, which would require liquor sold in-state to be stored at in-state warehouses at least 48 priors to sale (currently, most distributors utilize warehouse space in New Jersey, which is much cheaper). Higher rents would almost certainly translate to higher prices—$1 or $2 extra per bottle—and the shuttering of numerous small city businesses. It also might be a case of absurdly clear-cut political corruption. An opposition group called Stop The Cork Tax has done a little digging, and it would seem that two of the city’s largest wholesalers, Southern Wine & Spirits and Empire Merchants, have been donating heavily to both Governor Cuomo and the bill’s co-leader, Jeff Klein. (Both businesses already have their warehouse space in New York, you see, so it wouldn’t effect them, just the competition). “This is just a blatant, bald-faced attempt to put all their competition out of business,” said Connie Oehmler, a member of Stop The Cork Tax and owner of a local wine store. For his part, Klein’s spokesperson made some jokes about Bridgegate, and said the measure would create jobs in-state (unclear on the cost-benefit given the likely loss of jobs we’d see from this). We’ll have to wait and see how this shakes down, but seems fair to add something about “overpriced New York drinks really are a conspiracy” to your cocktail party repertoire in the interim. Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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