Three-Tier System vs. Two-Day Delivery — SCOTUS Ruling Could Impact Sales, Shipping of Booze
“To be clear, there are a lot of potential barriers in the way of getting from Point A to Point B to have ‘Amazon Prime Booze,'” says Jarrett Dieterle, a senior fellow and director of commercial freedom at the R Street Institute, a think tank that identifies as non-partisan, but is labeled by others as center-right. “But it’s conceivable on the horizon.”
What Granholm did over a decade ago was give producers (in that case, wineries) the ability to sell across state lines. So far, Dieterle says, states have taken a narrow interpretation of the ruling: wineries could take part, but not necessarily other alcohol manufacturers.
“We can get every product at our doors in two days, and alcohol is one of the biggest exceptions to that,” says Dieterle, author of the forthcoming book Drink For Your Country, a history of U.S. liquor laws. “This could be one of the first steps toward that.”
“There is still going to be a lot of litigation and follow-ups because so much of our laws are under these immediate, post-Prohibition rules that make no sense in our modern economy,” Dieterle says.
“People tend to focus on the big boys, but the thing that may be most exciting is for craft spirits and brewery enthusiasts,” Dieterle says. “What’s lost in a lot of this is how it could very much help the smallest of small businesses. A new, interstate shipping market isn’t just helping corporations, but it opens the chance for smaller producers to expand their market in a way they wouldn’t have been able to do.”
Because Supreme Court rulings now impact producers and retailers, Dieterle says there could feasibly be a future where Amazon or Walmart may have an advantage in volume and shipping, but small producers of all kinds of alcohol could take advantage of a freer, interstate shipping option.