A Call to End the War on Wine Retailers and Wine Consumers

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Specialty Wine Retailers Association Calls On Congress To Reject H.R. 1161, Special Interest Legislation Aimed At Preventing Consumer Access to Fine Wine; New STOP 1161 website launched.

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“Why Congress would want to play a role in encouraging interstate trade barriers that will reduce commerce, hurt the job market and discourage entrepreneurs is beyond comprehension.

The Specialty Wine Retailers Association SWRA today calls on members of Congress to end the war on American wine retailers and wine consumers by opposing House Resolution 1161. Written by and for the specific benefit of American alcohol wholesalers, H.R. 1161 cannot be allowed to upend the sound principles of free and open markets by taking the radical step of stripping wine retailers of their Commerce Clause protections against state-based discrimination and taking choice out of the hands of consumers—two bulwarks of the American economic engine.

SWRA has launched http://www.stop1161 to keep opponents of this special legislation, members of congress, members of the alcohol beverage industry and consumers informed on the effort to defeat the bill.

Wine retailers across the country and members of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association have always supported a robust, yet fair and equitable, state-based alcohol regulatory system. Congressional representatives are being sold a bill of goods when the proponents of this bill, American alcohol wholesalers, claim the state alcohol regulatory systems are under attack by federal judges and others and need to be protected.

“H.R. 1161, if passed, would take the radical step of removing wine retailers’ Commerce Clause protections that all other industries enjoy, and all for the unfounded claim by wholesalers that the authority of the state to regulate alcohol is under attack,” said Tom Wark, executive director of SWRA. “The only laws that have been challenged by wine retailers are those that blatantly discriminate against wine retailers for the sake of protecting in-state interests.

“These are the exact same types of laws that wholesalers themselves have challenged in court in a number of states, yet neither the National Beer Wholesalers Association nor the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America ever said a word when their own members filed suit against state alcohol regulators.

“While primarily small, privately owned wine stores will suffer enormously in the face of discriminatory state laws pushed by alcohol wholesalers if H.R. 1161 passes, it will be consumers who will see their access to wines severely curtailed, solely for the purpose of protecting wine wholesalers from competition. The war on wine retailers and wine consumers ought to end immediately so Congress can get back to work that benefits all Americans and not just special interests.

“Why Congress would want to play a role in encouraging interstate trade barriers that will reduce commerce, hurt the job market and discourage entrepreneurs is beyond comprehension. The only interests served by H.R. 1161 are those who benefit when free trade is curtailed and protectionist barriers erected. In this case that’s the authors of the bill: American beer, wine and spirit wholesalers.”

SWRA is a national association comprised of brick and mortar wine stores, internet wine stores, wine-of-the-month clubs, wine auction houses and its industry supporters who believe the American marketplace for beer, wine and spirits ought to be fairly regulate, that trade barriers erected by states impede economic growth and that the interests of consumers ought to be of primary importance in regulating the sale and distribution of alcohol. For more information see: http://www.stop1161.org


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