Alabama’s Studies Wine Shipping…Because It’s So Damned Complicated

Despite the Alabama legislature being directed to form a Study Task Force to examine the wine direct shipping issue, I remain shocked that it actually happened. What’s even more shocking is that after 45 other states have figured out how to implement direct shipment of wine, Alabama needs a study task force to figure it all out.

And it appears there are a few folks on the task force who can’t quite figure out how to implement direct shipping while making it as difficult as possible for out-of-state shippers and as inconvenient as possible for Alabama consumers.

“Crawford is the president of United-Johnson Brothers of Alabama, which is one of the largest distributors in the state. They distribute nearly three million cases of wine each year to bars, grocery stores and restaurants with valid ABC licenses. Crawford said the company has mixed feelings on direct wine shipments.

” ‘We want to make sure that it is fair and equitable to everyone in the state. We’re very highly regulated by the ABC right now with license fees and as a responsible vendor,’ said Crawford. ‘We would like to see that it is treated similarly to the way that wines and spirits are currently done.’

“Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, got a bill out of the House during the 2019 session that would have allowed an already licensed wine manufacturer to get a wine direct shipper permit. Collins serves on the task force and said she wants to make sure small businesses are protected.

“Jessica Harrison is a manager at Derk’s Filet & Vine. They understand the convenience of direct wine shipment but are concerned for local jobs.

“ ‘From a business standpoint I’m afraid I won’t support it, just because I see a high probability of it cutting into local jobs, profits and just being able to see our customers that one on one interaction with our customers is what we really enjoy,’ Harrison said.

“Harrison also questions how the wine would be kept in good condition while sitting on a front porch in Alabama heat.”

Yes, it’s that darn heat issue I’m sure Ms. Harrison is so concerned about. Never could it have anything to do with her desire to protect herself from having to compete on a level playing field or to happily screw Alabama wine lovers.


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