Monday, November 6, 2006

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My one endorsement for 2006

Unlike two years ago, the hardworking staff here at will not be offering any grandiose endorsements for anyone holding political office.

However, it is worth noting that the staff has finally found an issue where the blog wife and I will be voting one the same side: Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot:

This proposed law would allow local licensing authorities to issue licenses for food stores to sell wine. The proposed law defines a “food store” as a retail vendor, such as a grocery store, supermarket, shop, club, outlet, or warehouse-type seller, that sells food to consumers to be eaten elsewhere (which must include meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, fresh fruit and produce, and other specified items), and that may sell other items usually found in grocery stores. Holders of licenses to sell wine at food stores could sell wine either on its own or together with any other items they sell.
This is an easy call for the missus and me -- hell yes, I'd like to see grocery stores sell wine.

The Boston Globe's endorsement provides sufficient explanation:

In 34 other states, shoppers at grocery stores can buy wine with their steaks. This has not caused an epidemic of drunken driving or teenage alcohol abuse. But the availability of wine with groceries does make life a little more convenient for the many adults who like to sip wine with their dinner.

Massachusetts allows only limited sales of wine at supermarkets. By loosening some of the state's restrictions, Question 1 would promote competition among retailers, and convenience for consumers. The Globe urges a Yes vote on this question.

Ah, I love it when the Globe asks for more market competition. You can find more information on this ballot question by clicking here.

But let me urge all blog readers in the state of Massachusetts -- help the hardworking staff here at get tanked expand our consumption choice set.

posted by Dan on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM


About time! After growing up in the wild West, I lived in Mass during grad school and shortly thereafter. That beer and wine couldn't be sold in stores just flabbergasted me.

Especially galling is that part of the puritanical regime is that the distribution level of the chain is highly regulated, very large barriers to entry (maybe territorial monopolies?). This was justified as keeping the price of alcohol high to discourage consumption of demon rum. OK, but if that's the policy goal, why let private distributors collect monopoly rents rather than just imposing a tax and using the revenues for the public good (such as it is in Massachusetts)?

Particularly annoying was how this prevented the Cambridge Brewing Company from selling kegs out their back door.

Dan, if you haven't found it yet, do try shopping at Downtown Wine & Spirits on Elm Street in Davis Sq (next to the Rosebud diner). Exceptionally good beer selection, not bad for wine too.

posted by: AnIRProf on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Good grief, I thought us Brits had tight restrictions (compared to most of continental Europe, we do) - and I've got two grocery stores that'll sell me booze of many varieties within 200 yards of my suburban house.

(also, applause for the web-helper who came up with the accessibility-friendly CAPTCHA)

posted by: blufive on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Most weekends I go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Marty's Liquors, and its been funny to see the propadanda (pro at TJs and Whole Foods; anti at Marty's) stuffed into your bags and prominently placed at all the registers. Even Marty Segal, the owner of Marty's, admitted the his opposition is just to protect his business; public safety is not an issue.

I'm waiting for the phone call from the volunteers in support of Question 1 offering me a ride to the polls to vote, like I got from every other candidate in the state. Should be a fun ride...or maybe not.

posted by: Bill N on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

We in IN have been buying beer, wine, and liquor at groceries for years, with no adverse effects on public safety.

There is now the topic of gas stations (in their convenient marts) selling beer, with the public safety issue being the main argument against.

We also are allowed to buy alcohol at membership places like Costco and Sam's, even if we hold no membership.

posted by: staleoreo on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Lucky you. Here in Montgomery County MD, the only county in the US with its own alcoholic beverage distribution system, you can't buy beer or wine in a grocery store or supermarket...

posted by: MattF on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

Now that would be a tough ballot decision. I live in a state where governance has generally been ceded to ballot initiative, so my basic position is to vote NO on all referenda. However, more accessible wine! I would definitely sacrifice my voting principles just that once.

posted by: Steven Donegal on 11.06.06 at 04:13 PM [permalink]

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