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The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts supermarket industry have spent almost three million dollars to lobby the electorate to support a referendum that would allow all supermarkets to sell wine. If the fundraising battle is any indication, the battle is all but won, since the Globe also reports that “package stores, liquor wholesalers, and beer distributors have raised $857,000 to defeat the plan at the polls in November.”

The biggest contributor on the supermarket side: Ahold-owned Stop & Shop, which ponied up more than a million dollars for the battle. Supervalu-owned Shaw’s contributed more than a half-million dollars, and other major contributors have included, according to the globe, Hannaford Bros., Price Chopper, Big Y Foods, DeMoulas Super Markets, Roche Bros., Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. Donations also came from the Food Marketing Institute, a trade group, and Bozzuto's, a Connecticut food wholesaler.

The November referendum only covers wine – not beer and hard liquor, though the package stores and wholesalers that oppose any change in the law suggest that it will only be a matter of time before supermarkets want to sell those, too.
KC's View:
The argument advanced by those who oppose any change is that making wine more available will heighten the incidence of drunk driving and alcoholism…which we think is a specious argument. If anything, merchandising wine within the context of the meal – explaining its romance and intricacies – might play against this trend.

(Unless, of course, you think about selling wine in juice boxes…which got mentioned in another story that we wrote about earlier this week. We’re not sure that this kind of merchandising is helpful…but who knows?)

Anyway, the argument may be made on the grounds of temperance and moderation, but we all know what it really is about: market share.