The quest by wine and beer wholesalers to maintain their “middleman” role within the liquor industry is simply bad news. A bill making its way through the House (H.R. 5034) sponsored by Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) supports wholesalers’ promises to limit consumer choice and disadvantage retailers, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and importers.
The topic is the subject of hearings before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today. Not surprisingly, wholesalers hope this legislation will protect the “three-tier system” for distribution of alcohol, which nearly all states impose. The system requires that alcohol producers (wineries, distillers, brewers, and importers) sell only to wholesalers, who in turn market the products to retailers.
It thereby bans any mutually beneficial sales between retailers (wine shops, restaurants, etc) and wineries or other producers that could enhance product selection and save money for consumers.