Congress May Halt Internet Sales of Micro-Brews

Act Now! Free the Beer!

Legislation pending in Congress may halt Internet sales of micro-brews: The growth of the Internet and its ability to serve niche markets allows beer and wine lovers to order craft brews and wines unavailable in local stores. But a law under consideration in Congress may put an end to such Internet purchases.

Both the Senate and the House have passed versions of “The 21st Amendment Enforcement Act,” which would make it much harder for small craft brewers and small vintners to ship directly to consumers. The new law would allow states to bring a federal lawsuit against anyone who ships directly to consumers. And at the state level, a movement is underway to make direct shipment violations a felony.

All too often such laws are used to eliminate competition and protect local distribution monopolies.

States have the authority to regulate alcohol sales, but the Supreme Court has made it clear that this must be balanced against constitutional protections of interstate trade. Protecting local monopolies from out-of-state competition violates the U.S. Constitution.

State laws limiting sales from out-of-state producers limit consumer choice and raise prices.

Free the beer! Call your elected officials and tell them to support the Cox-Goodlatte amendment to the “21st Amendment Enforcement Act.” The Cox-Goodlatte amendment makes it clear that although states can regulate the use of alcohol, they cannot protect local monopolies under the guise of alcohol regulation. The House and Senate will finalize the legislation soon, so call the U.S. Capitol today at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators and Representative. Or go to CSE’s Legislative Action Center to e-mail or write a letter to your elected officials.