Alcohol Wholesalers’ Dumbest Tweets, Part 1

DrunkbeertweetersIt has been nearly 3 or 4 years since the leaders of the American wine, beer and spirit wholesalers began making the claim that severe public health consequences would result from altering the strict three-tier system of alcohol distribution. This claim, a new one in the effort to stop reform of the alcohol distribution system, came at the expense of an earlier campaign that led with the claim that direct-to-consumer shipments of wine would lead to huge increases in minors obtaining alcohol and killing themselves—an absurd claim that was proven to be without merit and that wholesalers rarely trot out anymore.

This new campaign is equally absurd, yet it remains the primary means by which wholesalers attacking any call to reform a system that keeps them in control of how wine, beer and spirits are sold in America.

I was nudged to reassess this wholesaler-created claim that binge drinking and problem drinking would increase with any reforms to the three tier system when I saw a tweet today from the Beer Wholesalers Twitter feed (@MrBeerGuy):

“A troubling result of looser alcohol controls – UK alcohol hospital admissions double in a decade:

The story linked to there comes out of the UK and notes that alcohol-related admissions have doubled in the UK in the past decade. The tweeter, “Mr. BeerGuy”, claims it is the result of looser alcohol controls. Yet we also learn in this article that alcohol consumption is down in the UK.

What goes unstated here by the wholesalers and their tweeter is that what we have at issue is a severe difference in the drinking cultures between England and the United States. Yet, wholesalers, in the same kind of effort to scare the be-jesus out of policymakers that they tried by claiming direct shipping will lead to dead children, don’t mention this critical difference between the UK and continue to argue that reform to the alcohol distribution system in the U.S. will lead to the same kind of binge drinking seen in the UK.

Ironically, alcohol wholesalers are also fond of arguing that states ought to have complete control over alcohol policies because, they tell us assuredly, each state has a different culture and a different attitude toward alcohol. Yet we are told that America=England and England=America where regulation and its consequences are concerned.

Wholesalers here in America continue on their own absurd and misleading linking of problem drinking in the UK and what they call the threat of “deregulation” here in America. They do this despite the fact that they have no evidence that reforms to America’s alcohol distribution system will lead to any increase in alcohol abuse of the sort they point to in England. But what’s worse is that America’s alcohol wholesalers are not stupid…In other words, they make this linkage KNOWING what they are saying is misleading and disingenuous. That’s unethical. That’s not surprising.


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