Wednesday, April 06, 2011

More Wine Woes

Just as our Maryland legislators are warming to the concept of direct shipping for wine purchases, Congress is moving in the opposite direction. According to this Op-Ed piece by David White in The New York Times, Jason Chaffetz, a Republican congressman from Utah, has introduced a bill that would protect wholesale liquor distributors by erecting new barriers preventing consumers from buying directly from out-of-state producers.

“This proposal would allow discrimination against out-of-state producers and retailers if lawmakers can prove that such laws advance “a legitimate local purpose that cannot be adequately served by reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives.”

That means that if a state’s discriminatory liquor laws produce tax revenues, for instance, they can’t be challenged in court.”

This bill would effectively protect the $13 billion wholesale liquor industry at the expense of consumers. The wholesalers fear the loss of revenue as a result of consumers being able to purchase wine direct from producers. It looks like they’ve found a friend or two in Congress to help them reverse this trend.
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