Which ID Verification System Screwed Up in Michigan?
In an early post I wrote about a recent "sting" operation paid for by Michigan’s Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association. They carried out the sting through their self funded Front Group, Coalition for a Safe and Responsible Michigan. In this sting, the wholesalers were able to find three Internet retailers who sold wine to a 20 year old. They touted their findings as proof that minors could get alcohol via the Internet.
But now I discover that one of those operations that were stung, St. Julien Wine Company, out of Paw Paw, Michigan, actually had an ID Verification System in place to fraudulent use of credit cards by minors.
Clearly it failed. So here’s my question:
WHICH AGE VERIFICATION SYSTEM WAS ST. JULIAN WINE COMPANY USING?
It is an important question, because whichever company it was really screwed things up in Michigan. Now, Wholesalers can say to legislators, as they attempt to get their anti-direct shipping bill passed, "Age Verification Systems Don’t Work." And they’ll have proof.
Of course, when operated competently, they do work.
I’ve not discovered which age verification system was in place when the order came through to St. Julian Wine Company. All I know so far is that it wasn’t IDology’s IDLive system that was, thankfully, recently endorsed by Wine America, a national wine trade association with members in nearly every state.
This question of which ID verification system was at work at St. Julian is important and someone needs to find out. You can bet the Wholesalers will try to carry out more stings and it would be nice if there were a system in place to prevent the stingers and any other minors from obtaining alcohol.
The ironic thing is that while it is the wholesalers carrying out the stings, it is also the wholesalers who are responsible for getting more alcohol into the hands of minors, both dead and alive, than any winery. Ninety-nine percent or more of every bottle and can of alcohol that finds its way into a minors hands and into their cars goes through the wholesalers’ hands first.
But, the wholesalers don’t care much to clean up their own act. They play fast and loose with the facts and they play with lots of money. Michael Lashbrook, head of the Michigan Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association recently spoke to the press and deliberately misrepresented govt. statistics in order to suggest that minors are getting alcohol off the Internet at an alarming rate. They’ve refused to speak with any of the parties in the direct shipping dispute in Michigan. You can bet they will try to put off another sting operation. They’ll likely use their front organization in Michigan again (how does Better Mercer—the organization’s flack— Sleep at Night?).
Bottom line, someone needs to find out which age verification system failed in Michigan at St. Julian Wine Company…if only to assure it’s not used again by any winery.