Alcohol Wholesalers Must Be Desperate…The Lies Begin.

National beer wholesalers of america Are we really to believe the wholesalers when they tell us that they want to protect wine shipping rights for wineries and consumers? After they've have spent 20 years doing everything they can to stop consumers and wineries from using the direct to consumer channel?

Craig Wolf of the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association wants you to believe he's just out to protect shipping rights.

In a statement today, the WSWA said:

"The CARE Act does not overturn state laws allowing the direct shipment
of wine by wineries or retailers. No provision of the CARE Act will
change the laws on the books that allow for direct shipment of wines
from wineries or retailers. Nor is there any provision in the bill that
serves to restrict such legal shipments. In fact, direct shipping laws
are afforded more protection from legal challenge under the CARE Act
because the burden of proof is now on the entity challenging the law."

Only one of three things can explain this out and out fabrication:

1. He's lying on purpose
2. He's being obtuse
3. He doesn't understand the law.

Today, if a state wants to pass a discriminatory ban on out of state shipping, and if it is challenged in court, the state must show that there are no other less discriminatory ways to achieve the goals sought by a ban on shipping by out of state wineries or retailers.

Under H.R. 5034, the state would merely have to DECLARE the ban has been put in place in order to achieve the states goals. They would no longer have to prove there are less discriminatory ways to achieve their goals.

The first thing that would happen upon passage of H.R. 5034 would the be introduction of legislation in a number of wholesaler-controlled states of legislation rescinding direct shipping. You can bet that Texas, Florida, Michigan, and Illinois would the first. AND ONCE PASSED, THERE WOULD BE NOTHING THAT CONSUMERS, WINERIES, RETAILERS, FREE THE GRAPES OR ANYONE ELSE COULD DO ABOUT IT.

Simply put, H.R. 5034 would result in the beginning of the end to direct shipment. Wineries and retailers can forever forget about the prospects of opening up more states for Self Distribution. And millions of consumers would need to get prepared to only have access to the wines that wholesalers want them to have access to.

H.R. 5034 is the most anti-consumer bill passed by congress since the 18th Amendment.

Why Craig Wolf and the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association would be so blatantly self serving and disingenuous in this recent statement of theirs is something to contemplate. But what you can be sure of is this:

Craig Wolf and America's alcohol wholesalers never have, do not now, and never will have the interests of the wineries, retailers, consumers or the American wine market foremost in their minds or behind their actions.

8 Responses

  1. Todd Wernstrom - April 27, 2010

    I’m a wine wholesaler and importer (albeit, a tiny one) and I totally agree that it’s nothing more than abject hypocrisy on the part of the industry. I read the bill and while it’s obviously way too early to assume that it will pass in the form it’s in now, it would very clearly allow any state to ban shipping. If it passes, it will, very simply put, make it virtually impossible for anyone challenging a state law banning wine shipments to overcome the burden of proof that would need to be demonstrated. The language essentially states that the challenger would have to show that there is no relationship between the state’s law and the reasons for the law. In other words, if a state passed a complete ban, and one of the stated reasons for it was that it would reduce the possibility of a minor ordering and receiving wine, then that would satisfy judicial review. There is, no doubt, at least a slight chance that such a law might make it a bit more difficult for a kid to get their hands on a bottle of mail-order wine. That “justification” has long since proved to be a red herring.(Before getting in the wine business, I practiced law for more than 10 years.)
    The way I look at it, mail-order wine clubs enhance my business, not compete against it. I’d be fine with our legislators if they’d just be honest about what all of this is about. Money=power=access=getting what the industry wants. Nothing more, nothing less.

  2. Health Insurance - April 27, 2010

    There are things that a alcohol wholesalers should do, think of ways that are unique and catchy with the targeted market.

  3. Joe - April 27, 2010

    I’ve been in agreement with Todd’s point since I first heard of this “resolution”.
    I work in wholesale, albeit in a different industry. Sure, we try to protect some products, but we are pretty open to direct-to-consumer products, because they are often a means to create pull-through demand on products that we cannot reasonably market.
    Let’s say there’s a tiny wine region or obscure grape out there, and a small winemaker specializes in this region or grape. Perhaps no wholesalers want to take on that small producer, but he gains a small following of loyal fans through direct shipment and tasting room visits. Maybe the wholesaler has an obscure wine of similar providence that he cannot move. It’s feasible to say there’s a better chance of that wine getting sold with a little bit of interest from consumers; interest generated on a guerilla level from direct winery shipment…

  4. Todd Wernstrom - April 27, 2010

    Exactly correct. The rising tide lifting all boats kind of thing. And most importantly, the distributors that are bankrolling all of this aren’t interested in the type of producers I represent to begin with, so the truth is that tiny producers aren’t competing with the Southerns of the world by shipping their own stuff. Or say that a tiny producer “lucks out” and gets picked by a big distributor. What happens next? They get ignored and put at the end of the sales book anyway. There’s plenty of business to go around for everyone.

  5. Nick - April 28, 2010

    who’s behind this ? Southern Wine & Spirits etc ..? why ANY small business would buy from them makes me shake my head. The corruption needs to be exposed so the trade here in CA knows how corrupt these large liquors houses are. there is plenty of wine and choice here luckily for us, yet Southern dominate by offering subsidized wine with free goods all “paid for” by liquor sales profit.

  6. Randy - April 28, 2010

    This is a close to a daylight smash and grab crime scene as the local AM/PM robbery on a Friday Afternoon.
    They are shameless about their language, their stance on small producers and their abject dislike for choice in America.
    In their mind, States rights far outweigh private citizen rights. Hey! Where are all the Tea Baggin’ folk? This should be right up their alley.

  7. Marc Emelianenko - April 28, 2010

    Big surprise that liquor wholesalers are fiercely protecting their government-sanctioned monopolies! They’ll continue — and get away with doing so by any means necessary — because the public at large doesn’t care. And why should they?
    All the while, state legislators and AGs will continue business as usual, receiving their “contributions” in order to maintain the status quo.
    Yes, it’s wrong, but whining about it on these blogs ain’t gonna change it.

  8. Joe - April 28, 2010

    Yep…ignored for sure. What’s gonna put more money in the pockets: a small-production Washington Gewurztraminer, or a wine with a chartreuse marsupial on it? I can’t blame the distributor for pushing the latter; they’re in business to make money, and I believe in capitalism. But don’t eliminate the small guy’s ability and right to make a buck too.

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