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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Grocery store wine...

Grocery Store Wine: A reader points out to me that the push to sell wine at the grocery store might have the same effect on local liquor stores that the "big box" phenomenon is having on local retailers. I said before that I don't mind the big box retailers, i just hate the chain restaurants. In the case of wine at the grocery store, i'm generally against it.

Wine, more so than almost any other product, is something that it is difficult to become an expert on. When you go to a liquor store, you can count on getting some expertise - at least more than you personally know. Think about All-Star wine and spirits in Latham Farms. That's a liquor/wine store you might drive to specifically because they are knowledgable, even if their prices were a bit higher than a liquor store closer to your home.

But if Hannaford next door could sell wine, it is almost certain that All-Star would be out of business. The convenience factor of picking up a bottle of wine while grocery shopping would just be too much to overcome. Would the average price go down at Hannaford? Probably so. But there's no way the staff there would be of any help. The result would almost certainly be that you would get a discounted price in exchange for less certainty that you got what you wanted.

This seems different to me than hardware supplies. It seems like something is genuinely being lost if the wine experts are driven out.
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