Exclusive: The Original Letter To Congress From Big Alcohol
Recently a coalition of wholesalers, giant alcohol producers, and some retailers released a letter to all members of Congress opposing the congressional proposal to allow the United States Postal Service to deliver alcohol to consumers. They warned it is not safe, that USPS delivery of alcohol undermines states’ rights to regulate alcohol and jeopardizes the collection of state alcohol and sales tax.
The three-page letter was delivered to all members of Congress in an attempt to generate opposition to H.R. 2517, The United States Postal Service Shipping Equity Act.
What’s not known is that this coalition of concerned alcohol industry players produced a different letter that, in the end, was replaced by the current edition. However, I was able to obtain that first letter, which was ultimately rejected. I reproduce it below:
February 1, 2021
Dear Members of Congress:
What the fuck are you thinking? Do we, the undersigned, not pay you enough money? Was it not clear that those millions of dollars of “campaign contributions” we delivered up to you were for a reason? Helping out the little guys and saving the USPS was certainly not what we had in mind when we cut those checks.
Understand…if you pass this bill you’ll essentially be putting the federal imprimatur on the idea of direct to consumer shipments of wine to consumers, on the idea of free and fair trade, and on the idea of non-discrimination in the practice of alcohol sales. As you know, we, the undersigned, oppose all those things.
Listen, we get it. You are busy with this COVID thingy and impeaching our president. And we understand that some folks still think that delivering mail is a good idea. Fine. Whatever. But did we not make clear with the over 100 different lobbyists we sent your way that the really important thing for this country is stopping the flow of wine and spirits to consumers? Did we not explain clearly that before this country can heal we need to assure the Post Office isn’t delivering Cabernet to consumers?
Let us make our position perfectly clear then: If HR 2517 passes and the USPS is able to pick up alcohol from wineries and retailers and deliver it to consumers kids are going to die (and it will hurt our businesses too). If you support and pass HR 2517 states may never recover from the potential loss of the additional tax revenue they stand to gain from this legislation (and it will hurt our businesses). If you let this bill become law, an ocean of tainted alcohol produced in the hills of Kentucky and valleys of California will flood our communities (and it harm our businesses).
Finally, don’t test us. Support this bill and we will write another letter.
John D. Bodnovich, Executive Director
American Beverage Licensees
Matt Dogali, President and CEO
American Distilled Spirits Alliance
Craig A. Purser, President and CEO
National Beer Wholesalers Association
Michelle L. Korsmo, President and CEO
Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America
As you can see by comparing this first draft of the letter to Congress with the one that was eventually sent, it was decided the better approach was to use more words.