Ballot Question 1, to be decided by voters on Nov. 7, will give local communities the option to permit grocery stores to sell wine. I think this is a positive development for Massachusetts consumers, and I think the measure should be passed.
The opposition to Question 1—liquor stores and the big liquor lobby—is mounting a campaign of misinformation to defeat the measure. Their true aim is to maintain the virtual monopoly they enjoy on wine sales. Their “doomsday scenarios”—ranging from gas stations selling wine to an increase in underage drinking—are unsupported by any evidence or facts. These are scare tactics and should be ignored by voters.
Right now, 34 other states allow wine sales at grocery stores. Those states have as good or better records as Massachusetts in preventing the sale of alcohol to minors. At Stop & Shop, we have invested in checkout systems that are specifically programmed to prevent the illegal sale of age-sensitive items such as cigarettes and alcohol to minors. Add that to our high-tech security systems and well-trained staff, and our stores would be undesirable for any minors looking to purchase alcohol. It’s no surprise that studies show that grocery stores have a better record of preventing sales to minors than liquor stores or bars.
Question 1 proposes a fair, limited and easily controlled way to bring customers in Massachusetts a simple convenience enjoyed by most of the country. The proposal is carefully written so that only approved grocery stores, not convenience stores or gas stations, will be eligible for the new wine licenses. Beer and hard liquor are not included in the new licenses, only wine. If the measure is passed, communities will still have complete control over which stores will receive the wine licenses. The increased consumer choices will mean lower wine prices, saving consumers money.
This sensible, carefully drafted measure gives consumers the convenience they seek, promotes healthy competition and helps to bring Massachusetts law up to date with most other states. Question 1 is a common-sense measure that will benefit consumers everywhere.
Store Manager, Stop & Shop Supermarket