Wine Wholesalers: It Looks A Lot Like Corruption
At a recent conference for alcohol beverage attorneys held in Portland earlier this month, a discussion ensued concerning Franchise Laws. Franchise laws generally state that once a producer of alcohol chooses a distributor in a given state, they may not remove themselves from that relationship no matter how incompetent the wholesaler and even if the wholesaler is sold to another wholesaler. They amount to protection for alcohol wholesalers from having to do their job. And wholesalers like franchise laws…A LOT.
During the discussion, a couple of attorneys representing wholesalers (Tuck Duncan) on one hand and the other (James Niehaus) representing producers got into a heated exchange about the value and utility of franchise laws. Beer Marketer’s INSIGHT reported their exchange.
TUCK: “my people are closer to the people than your people are (Legislators)…my people elect the people who make the decisions eventually…that’s a good thing.”
JAMES: “Your people make larger contributions (to legislators)”
TUCK: “Damn right…I’ll match my ability to get the law changed in my state against yours any day”
For the record, Tuck’s clients are the Kansas Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association. According to FollowTheMoney, over the past four elections, they have contributed $223,521 to Kansas political campaigns.
What we have here is a bald-faced admission that the contributions of wine and spirit wholesalers are meant to purchase the legislation they need to protect themselves from having to actually do a job. Equally important, it’s clear by the extraordinarily poor quality of the arguments wholesalers and their attorneys make, that the campaign contributions are meant to absolve them from actually having to make a rational case for their positions.