(Lori Piotrowski) – Last week, we featured an article from a daily online newsletter, “The Daily Sip,” which is published by Bottlenotes. Our loyal readers know that Nevada News & Views welcomes many viewpoints, and we did receive a letter in response to this article from Rebecca Spicer, vice president of public affairs for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, who asked that we publish her letter to give our readers the facts:
The April 6th article “Will Congress Cut You Off?” has its facts wrong on H.R. 1161, the Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act of 2011. The bill would not end direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments in Nevada or any of the nearly 40 states that currently allow it, or in other states that might follow suit. In fact, the CARE Act protects each and every state’s ability to decide how, when and where alcohol is sold in the local community, so long as there is no discrimination against alcohol suppliers – which includes out-of-state wineries.
Within today’s regulated system, more than 1,700 breweries and 7,000 wineries have come into existence across the United States, and there are 13,000 beer labels and as many as 50,000 wine labels available. What other consumer product offers such variety?
The CARE act is not about direct shipping of wine. The CARE Act is about who should make decisions regarding alcohol regulation (elected state legislators rather than unelected federal judges in distant courts), not what those decisions should be. National surveys show that the majority of Americans believe that alcohol decisions should be made at the state and local level. So, wholesalers and consumers are actually in the same corner. Your readers seeking the facts are encouraged to visit www.thecareact.org.
This letter encouraged me to look into HR 1161 a little deeper. What I found out was interesting, enough so that I wanted to pass that information along to you. Keeping in mind that NWBA sponsors www.thecareact.org Web site, I went to the government site for a non-biased source.
The NBWA is the only organization listed on the government Web site that supports HR 1161. The National Association of Beverage Importers, The Brewers Association, WineAmerica, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Wine Institute, and Beer Institute all oppose this bill. An online poll shows that 9 out of 10 visitors oppose the bill.
The Web site lists a “money trail,” which shows that congressmen and women who support the bill have received more than $200,000. The site also lists recipients of $883,994, including Senator Schumer (D-NY) fee of $112,000 and our own Senator Reid’s (D-NV) $48,600.
According to Tom Wark, who blogs online at Wark’s Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog,
The National Beer Wholesalers Association, the middle men behind the Wholesaler Protection Act (HR 1161), have squatted on the following domain names:
Last year after HR 5034 (the predecessor to HR 1161) was introduced, the Specialty Wine Retailers Association decided they would fight back by maintaining the StopHR5034.org website. As this association’s executive director, I had the pleasure of updating and keeping the clean rays of sunshine on all the silly claims wholesalers made about their anti-consumer bill, highlighting the enormous press coverage that criticized their efforts to pass that dog of a bill and keeping mailing list member apprised of new developments.
I guess the wholesalers didn’t like the idea of folks organizing against their effort to keep consumers hostage to the wines they want to sell [author’s emphasis]. So this time around they decided to squat on these names. And believe me, they won’t be using them. They’ll just be sitting on them.
He continues: “In more than 20 years of trying to shut down all direct shipment, in all the time they’ve made bogus arguments about minors getting their hands on alcohol via direct shipment and in all the time they’ve tried to justify their monopoly, they have never gotten any traction with the media or with consumers.”
So, I’ll leave the decision up to you, dear reader. Is HR 1161 another way for the Federal government to impose its will on its citizens? The forum is now open for comments…