New York’s Largest Spirit Retailer Continues To Do Battle With Supreme Court
The New York Supreme Court rejected Total Wine’s appeal in not being allowed to open a second location within the state. New York has strict laws on liquor stores including ones to prevent large chains from obtaining liquor licenses in an attempt to preserve “mom and pop” shops. However, individuals with connections to national firms are allowed to apply for a single license using a different corporate name. This is how there is a Total Wine store in Westbury that technically operates under the name “Westbury Fine Wines” as part of the New York Fine Wine and Spirits LLC.
This first, and only, Total Wine location opened in 2017 but this is already the 3rd rejection in their attempts to expand to different areas of the state. The New York State Liquor Authority previously denied bids to open store fronts in Stony Brook, Westchester, and most recently, College Point in Queens. The Westchester location was previously dismissed when the court said that the store was “not appropriate for the region.”
This most recent attempted was denied with Judge Pam Jackman Brown ruling that the chain failed to meet “public convenience and advantage” in their petition for receiving another liquor license that was filed with the liquor board in August of 2019.
This hardly seems like the end of the road for the retail outlet, who are now operating more than 200 stores in 26 different states. Total Wine previously won a major ruling in South Carolina, which had a limit of 3 liquor licenses for one retailer, where the State Supreme Court ruled the limit unconstitutional as it did not “promote the health, safety, or morals of the state, but merely provide economic protection for existing retail liquor store owners,” ruled Justice Jean Toal. “While we acknowledge that the state is granted broad powers with respect to regulating liquor sales, this is an example of market regulation that exceeds constitutional bounds,” he added.
As long as there are restrictions on the expansion of storefronts, expect the retail giant to continue to use resources to appeal and push for legislation that allow for the number of their locations to grow.
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