Booze Fight Takes Shape in Florida

AP Photo/Erik Schelzig
AP Photo/Erik Schelzig

Shopping hasn’t been a total pleasure for those Floridians, who have been looking to consolidate their shopping steps, by purchasing their groceries and liquor under the same roof.

The House Business & Professions Subcommittee in the Florida House of Representatives has just voted 9-4 to push HB107, a bill that would scrap the 80-year-old Florida law that has required liquor stores do business in freestanding buildings or “facilities.”

Publix Supermarkets opposes it, while Target, and Walmart, back the bill. Some of these other chain stores like ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and other liquor retailers like 67 Wine and Spirits, are not too happy with the bill.

Hey, has anyone considered the wishes of the consumer?

Publix shoppers can already buy beer and wine inside the stores, why not allow “all’ alcohol to be purchased on Aisle 5?
This makes too much sense.

Just the other day I walked into one of these Publix liquor stores, which was situated 4 doors down from the actual grocery store. While I simple walked into the store to look at the bottles, let me just tell you, I felt like some dirty boozer looking to score liquor.

As I walked into the store, I found myself staring at a wall of Vodka, which prompted me to look around to see if anyone was watching me walk into a business that exclusively sold hard liquor.

Businesses like ABC soften their retail image by promoting and displaying different varietals of wine in their windows, masking the harder stuff.

Free standing liquor stores like the ones Publix operates question, aren’t able to do the same, and can only hope to decorate their liquor displays with the occasion Christmas or Easter bunny decoration.

While ABC and others stand to lose revenue by having to directly compete with Publix Supermarkets, this bill makes a lot sense to Publix and others, as they stand to save on millions of dollars in additional rent and utility expenses associated with the operation of these additional liquor stores.

These savings could be passed along to consumers, not to mention time these consumers will save by not having to walk or drive to another location just to buy booze.

So, I am not quite sure why Publix opposes this bill.