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BOSTON -- The Boston City Council has unanimously voted to oppose a measure that would permit food retailers to obtain special "wine at food store" licenses, according to a published report. The purely symbolic gesture was designed to let constituents know where the councilors stand on the issue of allowing wine at food stores.
Although those in favor of the measure contend that it would save consumers $26 million to $36 million per year and result in more competition and choice, opponents argue that making liquor more easily available would result in higher rates of drunk driving and underage drinking, as well as being detrimental to local liquor businesses. Television commercials for and against the measure have been airing in the state.
Councilor Robert Consalvo (Hyde Park, Roslindale) told the Daily Free Press, a Boston University newspaper, that even if the measure passed on Election Day, the City Council would still have to vote on it before it became law in Boston, and the body was unlikely to approve such a law.
Massachusetts food retailers are currently permitted just three licenses per chain. Marty O'Halloran, manager at the Central Square Shaw's Star Market, told the paper that the three Shaw's stores that carry wine have a "fantastic system in place" to prevent sales to minors, and that any additional Shaw's offering wine in the future would adopt the same system. O'Halloran added that for teenage drinkers, beer and hard liquor were more common choices than wine.