Comedy in Pennsylvania
There has been a lot written of late about Pennsylvania’s need to come into compliance with Granholm v. Heald by addressing the issue of Direct Shipping. But none of the commentaries and articles have been quite as good, quite as pointed and quite as funny as that published by the WillDo blog at the Philadelphia Weekly.
"In the beginning, God created man and the ethyl alcohol molecule.
Later, man discovered the ethyl alcohol molecule was psychoactive. In
other words, he discovered how to get drunk."
This isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for wine, but the article does get better. It’s not parody. It’s not satire. It’s just good old fashioned ridicule.
Currently legislation under consideration would have direct shipments of wine from out-of-state wineries required to be sent to state stores, not directly to residents’ homes. Of course the latter makes too much sense. But as the writer of this article notes:
"The state once banned out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to consumers in Pennsylvania, because that makes sense."
At this point, the entire direct shipping debate, no matter where it occurs, no matter what policies are under consideration, has almost become a parody of itself. Where states are shutting down shipping by retailers or where restrictions are placed on shipment, it’s almost as though lawmakers and those whispering in their ear are trying to figure out exactly how silly they can sound, how funny they can look, how badly they can screw the consumer, and how many lawsuits they can spawn.
The sponsor of the current bill has actually said that he wants to put a limit on the number of out-of-state wineries that could ship by providing that only those wineries that make 80,000 gallons of wine or less would be eligible to ship wine. This means any winery producing more than 34,000 cases per year would be excluded. That’s not the real problem. The real problem is that in justifying the production limit in protectionist terms, violate the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce clause.
I personally don’t think the legislation will pass this year and will have to be brought back up next year. No one likes it. Pennsylvania wineries oppose it, Pennsylvania consumers oppose it, Pennsylvania wholesalers oppose it, Pennsylvania state store employees oppose it and, based on the column in WillDo, God probably opposes it too.