$45 Million and Counting…

Just how much do America’s alcohol distributors pay to keep their stranglehold over legislatures across the country where anti-consumer and anti-shipping legislation that only benefits distributors is passed on a regular basis?

According to data collected by Specialty Wine Retailers Association using FollowTheMoney.org, alcohol distributors have given more than $45 million to state politicians across the country since the year 2000.

Interestingly, more than half of that amount was contributed by alcohol distributors in just five states:

How Much: More than $6.7 million since 2000.
What Wholesalers Got: Texas recently passed wholesaler-endorsed legislation with little if any debate that prohibits Texas wine consumers from having wine shipped to them from any retailer outside the country they live in.

How Much: More than $5.4 million since 2000
What Wholesalers Got: Illinois recently passed legislation that would prohibit Illinoisans from purchasing wine from out-of-state retailers, a right Illinoisans have had for more than 15 years. The legislation was written by Illinois wholesalers.

How Much: More than 4.9 million since 2000
What Wholesalers Got: MA passed pro-wholesaler wine shipping legislation in 2006 that prohibits Massachusetts consumers from purchasing wine from a vast number of small, medium and large wineries and from purchasing wine from any winery that has had a relationship with a Massachusetts wholesaler within the preceding six months.

Home Much: More than $4.6 Million since 2000
What Wholesalers Got: CA passed a law in 2005 that prohibited Californians from purchasing wine from any out-of-state retailers.

How Much: More than $3.1 Million since 2000
What Wholesalers Got: Twice in the last two years wine wholesaler-sponsored legislation has been introduced that would have severely limited the rights of Floridians to have wine shipped to them.
Source: Specialty Wine Retailers "Bottom Line" E-mail Newsletter

This is a story absolutely begging for coverage in the wine trade media as well as in the mainstream media.
The circularity that allows this kind of influence by a very tiny group is astounding and entirely unique in the American Republic and American politics: Alcohol distributors are given a state-mandated monopoly to control access to wine. That monopoly creates enormous profits. Those profits are dumped into campaigns to gain political influence. The distributors state-mandated monopoly is protected and expanded. More profits come to the distributors, etc, etc, etc.

Imagine what kind of power arises from 70+ years of this kind of special interest protection by the state afforded to a very tiny group of companies. Wait you don’t have to imagine. Just re-read this post.


2 Responses

  1. Mike - October 12, 2007

    If you’d like a bit of info on Tennessee (where driving in with a case of wine is a felony akin to a THIRD DUI), here are a couple of links:
    What they buy with their money:
    How they buy it:

  2. shinyallard - September 16, 2008

    In the America distributors state-mandated monopoly is protected and expanded.We can imagine that situation.
    California Dui

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