Just as our
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 Maryland , has introduced a bill that would protect wholesale liquor distributors by erecting new barriers preventing consumers from buying directly from out-of-state producers. Utah
“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.