One Year Later—Capitol Riots, Wine, Beer, Spirits and Us

Today many will devote a good deal of brainspace and emotional toil to remembering the Capitol Riots of January 6, 2021. I don’t think anyone will or should treat January 6 like Pearl Harbor Day or 9/11 anniversaries, but I do think a good deal of justified introspection will ensue. With my FERMENTATION and wine industry hat on, I am motivated to ask if the Capitol Riot and its fallout have any impact on or anything of substance to say about the American wine and alcohol industry.

It does not.

In the days that directly followed the Capitol Riot, Public Citizen published the identity of those organizations that had shoveled the most campaign contributions to those lawmakers that challenged the electoral votes. The National Beer Wholesalers of America were listed as #4 on the list with $1.7 million since 2016. But as I noted at the time, these donations by NBWA are not an indictment nor any indication that the beer wholesaler association supported the riot. The fact is, NBWA would give a campaign contribution to any candidate that demonstrates they possess a pulse.

Then there was the member of the mob at the Capitol that took the time to crack open a Coors Light and record a video in

which he declared, “I don’t always storm the Capitol of the United States of America. But when I do, I prefer Coors Light.” This is an indictment of the man’s well of commonsense, but, again, it’s not something that connects alcohol to the motivations behind the Capitol mob.

But if we must think seriously about how the legacy of January 6 intersects with wine and the alcohol industry, then I suppose we must ask the question, to what extent does the partisan divide that so clearly controls the American culture and politics have an impact on the industry? Alcohol laws and regulations are notoriously non-partisan. You can’t count on Democrats or Republicans, progressives or conservatives, to have any particular view of alcohol and the alcohol marketplace. Moreover, those who insist America is filled to the brim with white supremacy or with wokeness are equally unlikely to have any particular view on wine, beer or spirits.

Today, the key issues that impact alcohol and are being debated in the halls of power are concentrated on direct shipment rights for retailers and wineries and brewers and distillers, distribution rights for producers, the perpetuation or repeal of Franchise laws, alcohol-to-go laws. None of these issues are subject to partisan divides.

Alcohol regulation and the health of the alcohol industry are subject primarily to large cultural and social trends that impact more than alcohol: COVID and its spread, increases or decreases in consumption, inflation, technology innovation, logistics innovations. Again, these things are not subject to partisanship.

All that said, were the real partisan divide currently infecting the United States polity that was on display on January 6, 2021, to evolve into a real threat to the basic functioning of our country; were the partisanship to evolve into a moment when the average person felt backed into a corner; were our partisan inclinations to motivate those on the left and the right to act like the idiots acted on January 6th, then yes, the alcohol industry would be impacted. However, this would be the least of our problems.


Posted In: Culture and Wine


11 Responses

  1. wineflakgmailcom - January 6, 2022

    The real threat is here Tom — and everyone else. One need not look any further than the Supreme Court and the myriad anti-voting laws on the books and the ones straining to take hold. It’s all about voting. Period. Full Stop.

  2. Tom Wark - January 6, 2022

    Dear Mr. Good Friend Flak:

    Yes, there are threats all about. But they there is not a connection to alcohol or wine. It is from that perspective that I wanted to write and explore the issue.

  3. Bruce - January 6, 2022

    Agree, honest elections, unlike the previous. If I was rich, I would have certainly donated, regardless of party to ensure the elections were fair.

  4. Peter - January 6, 2022

    Then there is the other half of the country.

  5. Fred Peterson - January 6, 2022

    ALWAYS follow the money. And until we talk money out of politics we can never hope to have decent leadership in congress, state legislations (or even county government). Power corrupts, but money seems to work faster these days.

  6. Jason - January 6, 2022

    Wasn’t there a guy that went into Pelosi’s office and was drinking her wine though?

  7. Tom Wark - January 6, 2022

    I think it was a beer, Jadon.

  8. acv - January 9, 2022

    Alan Goldfarb is afraid of being canceled. What is this world coming to?

    Maybe Jan 6th and the connection with the wine and liquor industry is a detachment from reality. Like if some said, “look over there. See the 4 kittens, the 4 matchbox cars, and the four Triangles.” 3 different things – but they are all groups of 4.

    Reality. You know, like if someone said asking a voter to show an ID to vote was somehow an assault on voting rights. Crazy talk.

    To hear some of the claims about DTC shipping or the ills of dismantling the 3 Tier system, or just some of the crazy wokeness coming from virtue signaling wineries or Banks (See SVB) …. you wonder…. what reality are you possibly looking at?

    • Jan 12th column Mississippi DTC crazy law sweepstake entry
    • When Amy Hopes at Wente makes it a point to let millennials know that Wente is not a racist, homophobic, or xenophobic company. Was it previously?
    • Feb 23rd Utah e-commerce crazy law sweepstake entry

    • Feb 24th Diversifying wine writing- The wisdom of Thomas Sowell, “Diversity is another name for balkanization…If there is any place in the Guinness Book of world records for words repeated the most often, over the most years, without one speck of evidence, ‘diversity should be a prime candidate. Is diversity our strength? Or anybody’s strength, anywhere in the world…? It has not been our diversity, but our ability to overcome the problems inherent in diversity, and to act together as Americans, that has been our strength” – We’re a melting pot of individuals. Not people of privilege and people of victim status.

    • Feb 28th Tennessee Lawmaker Dale Carr claims that fake wine would be shipped if they opened DTC shipping.
    • April 13th Oregon lawmakers attempt to channel ‘Jim Crow era legislation’
    • May 2nd – North Carolina. DTC causes cirrhosis.
    • Amber Lucas racist rant is a classic projection and a detachment from her own reality
    • May 16th The deep-sixing of the USPS wine shipping bill by the liars at National Beer Wholesalers Association, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association, the American Beverage Licensees, and the American Distillers Alliance.
    • May 25th the “Anti-consumer, anti-free trade nature of a wine shipping bill” imagined in Delaware
    • The infamous June 2nd and 15th bookend columns. That was a classic detachment from reality by so many.

    That’s only the first 6 months of 2021. How does this compare to Jan 6th? Let’s see.

    Putting aside the myriad of FBI agents amongst the rioters egging on the knuckleheads…and the fact that the lack of weapons that day by the rioters- NONE… (unlike a George Floyd protest) ….and that none of the “insurrectionist” bothered to take over a TV station…. a Power Station….held a lawmaker hostage…. you know the kind of things you’d expect from an insurrection…putting all that aside while ignoring the fact we kept armed troops camped out in the Nation’s Capital until what was in March or April? …All b/c some morons dressed in Viking horns took selfies in the Capitol rotunda…. putting all that to the wayside – anyone who thinks Jan 6th was some big to-do….you might want to seek psychological help.

    Norm MacDonald (Tweet Jan 6th 16:37) I loved when the violent terrorist made sure to respect the velvet ropes in Statuary Hall.

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