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April 25, 2008



Woo! What's the story on wine in RI? Will you be able to buy yr Two-Buck Chuck, or does RI have state liquor store?


We don't have state liquor stores, just private businesses--"package stores" is the term of art. But liquor, including beer and wine, isn't sold in grocery stories. In Mass this is a town-by-town issue, so some TJ's have been and wine (like in Cambridge) while others don't (like in Shrewsbury.) I'm not sure what the relevant law is here, or whether it's state or local, but I don't know of any supermarket in the state that carries alcohol. It's possible TJ's was lured in with some sort of exception, but I really doubt it--it's a contentious issue, with package store owners, especially the smaller ones, not wanting to face the competition. They already unsuccessfully resisted the legalization of Sunday sales and don't want the added pressure. So probably no Two-Buck Chuck or Oranjeboom for me without a trip to Cambridge. Still, snacks.

(There are a variety of strange variations on the liquor laws in Providence, with pharmacies of a particular age being grandfathered into the right to sell alcohol, and package stores having the option of longer hours on Saturday during certain months, but I think I better stop here. I've already written more on the topic than I have on anything art-related in a while.)

Megan McMillan

You have made this former Californian's heart sing with joy. Whole Foods can suck it: I'm tired of its stranglehold on Providence.

RI doesn't allow liquor to be sold in grocery stores, I've heard it's mob related... or is that local lore?

Out here, it's three-buck Chuck, sorry to say.


Whole Foods can suck it

Indeed. That parking lot is a zoo (though route 2 isn't much better) and so expensive. I swear I've seen the exact same products at WF that I'm used to paying half the price for at TJ's at times.

I've heard it's mob related... or is that local lore?

A little of both, probably. No doubt alcohol is the sort of business the mob likes to get into, but it's also a heavily regulated industry in which the parameters of the law empower a variety of interests. So as I noted above, independent liquor stores which rely on beer and wine for a lot of their profit margin don't want to see that traffic going to the supermarket and lobby against any change, whether they're mob-related or no. Similar dynamic happens (in RI and other states) to prevent mail-ordering wine--the distributors don't want to lose market share, even if it would be small, and block changes in the law.

Arthur Whitman

Aw -- I miss living in Allston and having a TJ's within 20 minutes walking distance (along with a Shaws and asian supermarket). Can't say I miss Mass liquor laws though.


This afternoon, I'm checking out the new Harris Tweeter, which is apparently now the closest grocery store to my house. I've never stepped foot into one but the reviews are glowing.


Er, make that Teeter.


Harris Teeter is very good. I remember shopping there back around 2000 when I spent a week or so in Hilton Head. Lot of good stuff. I kind of love supermarkets, especially good ones. Locally Dave's Marketplace is my current favorite, though I'll always have a soft spot for Eastside Marketplace.

This blog has gone completely off the rails.


No, the Celtics have gone completely off the rails. (It's okay—so has Dallas.)


the Celtics have gone completely off the rails.

I'm not really invested in basketball, so I don't mind, but it does seem like it, huh? And while no one should feel bad for Boston sports fans, you should get ready for an unbelievable bout of whining and rage to pour out of the northeast if a second unbeatable sports juggernaut falters in embarrassing fashion in the same year. That'll set up the expectations for baseball season nicely.


As Boston goes, so go the notion of near parity in the NBA. It seemed like it was a bogus suggestion in theory, and then the Celtics came along and seemed to grossly outweigh everyone they played (except the Washington Wizards!). Parity has struck back in a big way with young teams like New Orleans bucking, sigh, the Mavs and old stalwarts still showing strong (the Spurs over the Suns).


Tough luck on the Mavericks. Bob Ryan is urging people not to panic, but I think he's got a tough sell on that one. I have to say that I'm most disappointed the Suns are out. But really, the NBA playoffs are much too long.

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