DISCUS weighs in on alcohol legislation

The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) won't be toasting the health of a piece of legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives.

Says DISCUS in a letter to members of Congress about its stance on H.R. 5034, the trade organization says, "For over 75 years, the beverage alcohol industry has been effectively regulated at the federal, state and local level. We are, therefore, deeply concerned that legislation introduced with support from the beer wholesalers would destroy this careful balance.

"For good reason, the beverage alcohol industry is sharply divided over the merits of this controversial and ill-conceived proposal. Distilled spirits, wine and beer companies are strongly opposed to the legislation and we urge you not to co-sponsor the bill."

H.R. 5034 could create major barriers in front of lawsuits by consumers and wineries trying to reduce restrictions on direct shipping, and could end direct shipping of wines, spirits and other forms of alcohol.

The bill was crafted by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA).

"If enacted, H.R. 5034 would strip away the protections of the Commerce Clause requiring even-handed, non-discriminatory treatment of business practices," DISCUS contends. "The bill also would effectively exempt state laws relating to alcohol from all federal laws, such as the federal antitrust statutes, the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and other important laws. These laws provide critical consumer protections and prohibit price-fixing and other anti-competitive behavior."

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1 comment:

Rich Reader said...

The anti-competitive effects of HR5034 will make it impossible for aficionados and enthusiasts to acquire most of the artesan wines that are only sold direct-to-consumer. If push comes to shove, there should be a floor on the regulation which would allow interstate shipment of any wine that has no more than 5,000 cases per year or that is not distributed AND kept in stock in most retail wine shops.

As everyone knows, direct-to-consumer is not about wines sold in most grocery stores. Let's ask our legislators to come to grips with who's calf is fattened and who's ox is gored by this pathetic excuse for legitimate legislation masquerading in HR5034