In Why I haven't signed the Food with Wine petition
, my fellow Louisville.com writer Dana McMahan, lays out why she's opposed to Kentucky's grocery stores being allowed to sell wine.
Now, I agree with Dana on a lot when it comes to travel and food--especially now that she's overcome her vegetarianism
(my phrasing, not hers).
But it's easier to write a post disagreeing with her on this issue--which I do, adamantly--than to come up with a fresh idea for my 101st Louisville.com article. Plus, blog fights = more traffic = happy advertisers = happy boss.
As Dana reports, state law prevents food stores from selling wine. The Food With Wine Coalition has petitions for customers in Kroger, asking the government to change the law.
Dana's arguments against it:
I happen to like buying my wine at Old Town or The Wine Market. Yes I want to support local business, but mainly I like that they know what they're talking about.
For that reason, many people--me included--will continue to buy our wine at an independent store.
But there's a large contingency of Kentuckians who don't want to talk about wine, they just want to drink it. They want to pick up a bottle of Yellow Tail along with some dinner and cat food on the way home from work, without having to make a government-mandated second stop at a wine store.
Banning grocery stores from selling wine for this reason is akin to letting Porcini
serve wine but not the Olive Garden. Sure, the latter is a travesty, but it's still the right of the misguided to eat there if they want.
If Kroger and their grocery compatriots can sell wine, what happens to our beloved local wine shops? Maybe it won't hurt their business, but what if it does? Can you imagine a Bardstown Road that only offered wine at Kroger? That would be a sad world.
This rebuttal is anecdotal only, but a few years ago my hometown of Reading, Mass., 15 miles north of Boston, changed its antiquated laws and allowed grocery stores to start selling wine. Several years later, the liquor stores are still in business (ironically it was the locally owned independent grocery store folded).
Day's Espresso, Heine Bros., Highland Coffee and Ray's Monkey House have all survived that Starbucks at the intersection of Highland and Bardstown; Old Town and the Wine Market will endure. And if they can't, it's not the government's job to ensure their survival.
Other reasons to be in favor of allowing grocery stores to sell wine:
- Grocery stores already sell beer and Kentuckians are fat--why not encourage a healthier alcoholic option
- Pharmacies like CVS sell wine--why is the state more concerned about mixing wine and food sales than mixing wine and Xanax sales?