The Implosion Begins!
Let me see if I have this right…
On the one hand, wine retailers across the United States are telling alcohol regulators in every state that they’d like to enhance their operating budgets by paying an annual fee to ship wine to consumers in those states. They’d like to help fill their state’s coffers with funds resulting from the remittance of taxes on the wine they sell and ship to consumers in their state. These retailers would like to voluntarily submit themselves to the legal jurisdiction of a remote state as well as allow their books to be audited at the notice of the regulators.
On the other hand, the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America want alcohol regulators to commit a significant amount of their valuable time looking for an alleged band of adult wine lovers who are claimed to be committing the sin of buying wines they can’t find in their own state, from a retailer in another state. Further, the WSWA wants these alcohol regulators to spend their valuable budgets looking for these supposed scofflaws in their own states as well as tracking down the alleged sellers in other states. Of course, wholesalers aren’t mentioning that this would take significant time and resources away from actually carrying out the core mission of these alcohol regulators: making sure licensees in their state are following the law and attempting to assure licensees don’t over-serve their drinking patrons.
Get More Money for their states and their budgets…VS…waste time protecting wholesaler profits???
Hmmmm? Tough one, isn’t it.
Yet this is the silly suggestion that the head of the American wholesaler cartel actually made in the form of a press release today as well as in letters to Attorneys General, governors and alcohol regulators in 50 states.
In case anyone reading this has missed the point of the American Wholesaler Cartel, allow me to remind you: PREVENT AS MANY AMERICANS FROM ACCESSING ANY WINE UNLESS WHOLESALERS FIRST MAKE A PROFIT ON IT.
Damn the regulators and the efforts they make to maintain an orderly and safe market for wine and spirits. Damn the states and their need to raise revenue. Damn the consumers who only want to obtain the wines the wholesalers feel these folks don’t need to have. JUST PROTECT OUR PROFITS.
I wonder if WSWA and the wholesalers ever tire of being ridiculed?
I don’t think so. The American wholesaler cartel appears to never tire of having their face rubbed in it. They lose lawsuit after lawsuit. They get slapped down by the Supreme Court of the United States. They get caught in their misogynistic ways. Their arguments against direct shipping are put to bed with efficiency and ease by person after person. But none of this is enough for them it appears. Now, they whine like a little girl who just soiled their Sunday dress and run off crying to daddy asking him to put down his tools and stop doing his job, so he can clean the mess the little girl made all by herself.
If anyone is wondering, it’s only going to get worse for the wholesaler cartel as they continue to spin out of all control.
But what I’m really wondering is who in their right mind at WSWA gave the approval to issue a press release that actually criticizes the the most powerful newspaper in the land merely for an offhand quip a wine writer made in its pages? Is there no one at the helm at WSWA? All they have to do is call me and I can recommend a number of fine PR professionals who will tell them the utter depth of stupidity that move represented. But allow me to recreate this act of stupidity…just as an object lesson in how not to run a communications program.
To quote from yesterday’s WSWA press release that whines about the alleged "Illegal alcohol trafficking and open disregard for state liquor laws":
"Wolf even cites a prominent New York Times wine writer openly
sympathetic to the unregulated-shipping cause, who recently opened one
column: “I have a confession to make. I am a lawbreaker.”
Wolf in response to the remark: “That a newspaper of record would
publish such comments in the clear light of day, we believe, ought to
trouble any regulator, lawmaker or law enforcement official.”
Tell you what, if I ever recommend to one of Wark Communications’ clients that they criticize the New York Times in a press release, please have someone come to my home, drag me out of bed and beat me senseless.
Finally, I fear I’m forced, out of the knowledge that my good readers love a bit of humor, to quote from the letter that WSWA’s CEO Craig Wolf wrote and sent to alcohol regulators, the top law enforcement officials and the Governors (yes, the following quote actually ended up in a letter to GOVERNORS) in all fifty states:
"As you are well aware, the sidestepping of state-controlled alcohol
distribution channels causes a host of negative effects—the inability
to collect taxes, the absence of a face-to-face transaction that
addresses myriad regulatory aims, and the very real possibility of
introducing tainted or counterfeit product into your marketplace, to
name but a few.”
Tainted Products? Now the American wholesalers are protecting us from tainted wine? I’ve got news for them. This is not 1926. No one is making tainted wine in a bathtub with grain alcohol and red food coloring, slapping a stopper in it and running it across the river to avoid Elliot Ness. And just when was the last time a wholesaler broke open a case of Opus or Dom Perignon or Russian River Valley Chardonnay to make sure it wasn’t "Tainted"?
I think we may be witnessing the end of a long sad saga as the implosion begins.