I Am Not A Crook
It is also, apparently, a day to celebrate absurdity.
"Today’s [alcohol regulatory] system balances a competitive industry with local social standards and community desires. It is this system that fuels today’s robust and dynamic licensed beverage industry that creates access to market for start-up businesses."
CRAIG PURSER, National Beer Wholesalers Association
Craig Purser's statement in his editorial in The Hill is Repeal Day's equivalent of President Richard Nixon looking into the camera and stating, "I Am Not a Crook".
America's alcohol wholesalers have great reason to celebrate Repeal of Prohibiiton. It resulted in the states creating alcohol regulatory systems that mandated by law that producers of alcohol sell their products to wholesalers and that retailers buy their inventory from wholesalers. If I were a wholesaler I too would celebrate today as the the anniversary of the moment I was granted state authority to control a multi-billion dollar marketplace without having to give back anything.
Let's tell the truth that Purser and the wholesalers won't: Today's "robust and dynamic licensed beverage industry" is robust and dynamic despite the oppressive and oligarchic actions of the wholesalers. Start up operations, be they beer or wine start-ups, only have access to markets if wholesalers allow them to have access. In most states, a new winery or brewer or distiller can't sell their products to retailers unless a wholesaler agrees to represent their product, which happens all too infrequently.
Were it not for recent changes in the states' alcohol regulatory systems—the same systems lauded by Purser—that take wholesalers out of the equation, we would not have the diversity of products in the American alcohol marketplace that exist today.
In other words, we have a great diversity of high quality products to buy and drink today despite the wholesalers' best efforts to maintain a dearth of product diversity.
Last month's election in Washington State that allowed retailers to buy spirits directly from the producer is exactly the kind of change we need to make to alcohol regulatory systems. Seventy-eight years after Repeal of Prohibition it is time to bring real market forces to bear on the the sale and distribution of alcohol in order to create a truly robust marketplace.
Policies that need to be implemented in every state:
-Producers of alcohol should be able to bypass wholesalers in every state and sell directly to retailers
-Consumers ought to have the right in every state to buy and have shipped directly to them alcohol from in-state and out-of-state producers and retailers
-Beer, wine and spirits ought to be available in every grocery store
-The states should have no interest in selling or distributing alcohol