Last month, the Brewers Association, WineAmerica, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Wine Institute, Beer Institute and the National Association of Beverage Importers, associations representing virtually all alcohol beverages sold in the 50 states, called on Members of Congress to reject any bill reintroducing the CARE Act (which was reintroduced this month as H.R. 1161). According to the producers groups, this legislation is backed by the wholesale tier of the alcohol beverage industry, and would allow states to enact discriminatory laws that prevent producers from direct shipping across state lines, similar to the Texas law at the center of the Wine Country Gift Baskets.com case the Supreme Court denied to address earlier this year.

The Producers groups say nothing has changed that warrants altering the system of state and federal regulation that has evolved since Prohibition to maintain a well-regulated and orderly market for the sale and distribution of alcohol beverages. Producers argue that Congress should not involve itself in what it sees as an intra-industry dispute, and that this law would favor one segment of the industry over other industry members and consumers who want to buy alcoholic beverages direct from producers in other states.

In the letter sent in February to members of Congress, Producer groups voiced their opposition to reintroduction of the bill originally introduced last term. The letter expresses concern that the bill would upset long-term stability of our domestic alcoholic beverage industry by forcing a hands-off approach at the federal level, simply because the bill’s authors say that alcoholic products are fundamentally different than other products transmitted in interstate commerce, and therefore the situation warrants a different approach.

Text of the bill is available online here.


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