America’s independent package liquor stores continue to have a positive impact on their communities by creating jobs, offering unparalleled product choices to millions of customers and leading the way when it comes to selling beverage alcohol responsibly.
Some of the last remaining independent businesses on Main Street, package liquor stores, which in most cases also sell beer and wine, train their employees to conduct safe and responsible face-to-face sales to adult consumers, thus leading by example when it comes to preventing underage access to alcohol.
“We believe it is important to highlight the sense of responsibility that independent package liquor store owners hold in serving their communities,” said ABL President Chuck Ferrar, who owns Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Beverage retailers work hard to maintain a safe environment for their families, friends and neighbors,” Ferrar continued. “They also provide thousands of full-time and part-time jobs and are important contributors to local economies everywhere.”
Package Stores Still Face Challenges
Despite the value package liquor stores deliver to their communities and their customers, threats to these small businesses abound. InWashingtonState, a move to dismantle the three-tier system and create an unlevel playing field for small businesses has led ABL to join the fight to defeat ballot initiative 1183.
Additionally, city, county and state governments all too often target the hospitality industry with alcohol tax increases as a quick fix for budget shortfalls. Beverage licensees already contribute more than their fair share through a variety of federal excise taxes, state excise taxes, county excise taxes, city excise taxes, state and city sales taxes, and other assessments and fees.
“Beverage retailers know first-hand how damaging alcohol tax increases can be to their businesses and employees,” said ABL executive director John Bodnovich. “We will continue to work with elected officials and the public to make sure that beverage retailers are not faced with another hurdle for sustaining successful businesses and jobs.”
Increasingly, beverage retailers are also forced to address misguided attacks on their businesses based on junk science. Despite the fact that package liquor stores are “licensed” businesses, under the scrutiny of state and local government, law enforcement and regulators, they must constantly defend themselves from those who seek to shutter their stores and put them out of business.
Providing Education & Choice
Thanks in large part to the three-tier system, American consumers already have access to the greatest variety of wine, beer and spirits of any country in the world. Now, with the constant flow of information via the Internet and social media, customers are progressively seeking out more information about these products. The explosion of locally-brewed beers, niche wines and craft-distilled spirits has meant that each bottle, and the story behind it, can captivate customers.
As consumers embrace craft products, organic alternatives and local producers, independent package store owners provide an environment where a knowledgeable staff can educate customers on the thousands of options they have when it comes to picking the beverage that’s right for them. It’s this superior choice and service that makes for better-informed and more responsible consumers of beverage alcohol.
In this season of celebration, ABL and its nearly 20,000 members encourage everyone to support locally-owned business by stopping in their neighborhood package liquor store for a bottle of their favorite wine, beer or distilled spirits. November is Package Liquor Store Month…Let’s Celebrate!