Bill would legalize beer, wine sales at Rhode Island convenience, grocery stores


You won’t find beer or wine on the shelves at Ocean State grocery and convenience stores..

Through legislation state Rep. Evan Shanley and state Sen. Lou Dipalma hope to change that.

“I’ve had constituents complain in the past about how Rhode Island seems to have archaic rules surrounding the sale of liquor,” said Shanley. “

I recently traveled out of state for the first time in a while and was again reminded that Rhode Island does not allow grocery and convenience stores to sell alcohol.”

The bill would create a Class B-W license to allow for the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores, convenience stores and markets throughout the state. The annual fee for a Class B-W license is $500 to $1,000.

A Warwick legislator, Shanley, who is the parent of two young children, said that he understands how busy people are and allowing the sale of beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores would save people from running an extra errand.

Shanley said that he rarely consumes alcohol so that issue hasn’t been high on his radar.

With that said he thinks that the legislation can help small businesses including those in the district he represents.

“I think this is a great opportunity to help small businesses and make shopping more convenient for my constituents in Cowesett, Potowomut, Apponaug and Greenwood Manor,” said Shanley.

Asked if he has received feedback from the liquor store industry Shanley said “My presumption is that there will be opposition from the liquor store industry.”

“I understand why they would not embrace competition. Should my legislation pass, they would remain the exclusive retail sellers of hard liquor so they would still have a leg up on grocery stores and convenience stores,” said Shanley. “Moreover, the majority of products sold in liquor stores are not taxed and the state has permitted several entities to effectively operate chain stores despite the fact that chain stores are not permitted to sell alcohol under Rhode Island law.”

Shanley said, “I have not heard anything but enthusiastic support from my colleagues and neighbors.”

The bill is being co-sponsored by Warwick state Reps. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, and David Bennett along with Rep. Robert Craven, and Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy.

As of Monday night, Shanley said that there hasn’t been a committee meeting scheduled yet on the legislation.

Shanley, beer and wine


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