First of all, so I can buy a bottle of wine to have with dinner without having to go to an entirely different store. (I grew up in Virginia, and even after five years in Baltimore, this no-alcohol-in-grocery-stores thing seems barbaric to me.) But more importantly: it might save some lives.
The logic is a little complicated, so bear with me. A recent study looked at states’ rates of traffic fatalities, and compared them with rates of wine consumption. States where drinkers overwhelmingly preferred beer and spirits had more traffic fatalities than states where wine consumption was higher. This makes sense, since wine is involved in only about 10 percent of binge drinking episodes. Beer? about 66 percent.
Here’s where the grocery stores come in: in states where you can buy a nice Shiraz along with your brussel sprouts and Windex — as opposed to states, like Maryland, where you have to visit a special store — wine prices are lower and wine consumption is higher. So why not let grocery stores stock wine, and watch Maryland’s wine consumption rise and its traffic fatalities fall? Sounds win-win to me.