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Alcohol scam drives up prices

Michael Beebe and Robert J. McCarthy of The Buffalo News report that New York's lax regulation of alcohol sales has resulted in a system in which producers and wholesalers provide "retailers illegal payoffs of money, trips, even gold Krugerrands to push certain brands of wine, vodka or whiskey. Some of the biggest liquor wholesalers in the country further defy the law by offering Bacardi, Absolut, Drambuie and other famous brands for $1 a bottle to select retailers, usually the biggest." Using New York's Freedom of Information Act, the paper found that a state investigation - never publicly released - detailed "the biggest stores routinely getting illegal deep discounts not offered to others. When smaller retailers found out about the bargains, wholesalers refused to sell, saying they were 'limited availability' or 'restricted' items."

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