Pro’s & Con’s

H.R. 1161: Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2011

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain

No matter what side of the aisle you plant yourself in, the latest legislation introduced into Congress, H.R. 1161: Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2011, has already ignited heated controversy.

Here are some of the links in the blogosphere surrounding this swirl of opinion:


Excerpted here:

WSWA Applauds Introduction of Legislation Affirming States’ Rights

“The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America applauds Rep. Chaffetz and the other original co-sponsors for introducing this legislation,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said. “These members of Congress deserve credit for supporting legislation that will reinforce the ability of states, and the officials elected by the citizens of those states, to continue to regulate alcohol within their borders as they see fit.”

“It is important for our supplier, importer and retailer partners to understand that we don’t consider this an ‘intra-industry’ squabble. This is not ‘us versus them.’ After all, no legitimate player in the industry feels litigation is an appropriate method for establishing or altering alcohol policy,” Wolf said. “We are supporting this legislation in an effort to ensure that policy disputes are resolved by local elected officials rather than unelected and unaccountable federal judges,” he added.

read the full piece HERE

Blogger Dr.Vino chimes in here:

HR 1161: the threat to wine shipping

Excerpted here:

Now known officially as HR 1161, and unofficially as the Wholesaler Protection Act, the bill seeks to restrict legal challenges to the interstate shipment of wine (and beer and spirits) and keep the legislation that affects wine shipping at the state level.

read the full piece HERE

Blogger and public relations professional Tom Wark, who represents the Specialty Wine Retailers Asociation is predictably against this legislation.

Tom’s latest post excerpted here:

New Wine Bill In Congress Takes Aim at Consumers

Excerpted here:

As promised, America’s beer and wine wholesalers have again convinced a congressman to introduce what can only be called the “Wholesaler Protection Act”.

What was hr 5034 last year is now HR 1161. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) from Utah is the main sponsor. HR 1161 is identical to the second version of last year’s bill.

read the full piece HERE and HERE

The trade group NBWA, the National Beer Wholesalers Association has a dog in the fight.

Their piece:

America’s Beer Distributors Applaud Introduction of Legislation to Reaffirm States’ Authority to Regulate Alcohol

Excerpted here:

“Ultimately, this legislation is about who should make decisions regarding alcohol regulation, not what those decisions should be. Alcohol is different than other consumer products and that’s why the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution created a state-based system of alcohol regulation that effectively balances local community control, tough consumer protections as well as choice and variety. The majority of Americans believe that laws regarding the regulation of alcohol should be made at the state and local level – and so do we.”

read the full piece HERE

Other industry groups feel differently

Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers Urge Congress to Reject the ‘Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness’ Act of 2011

Excerpted here:

Since Prohibition’s repeal, a balanced system of state and federal regulation has evolved to maintain a well-regulated and orderly market for the sale and distribution of alcohol beverages.    Nothing has changed to warrant upsetting this careful balance, and we do not believe that Congress should spend valuable time wading into an intra-industry squabble, nor should it favor one segment of an industry at the expense of other industry members and American consumers.

“On March 7, 2011, the United States Supreme Court declined to review a challenge to a Texas state law, effectively ending litigation that the wholesalers say justifies their legislation. The wholesalers’ praise of this Supreme Court action is inconsistent with wholesaler support for H.R. 1161, which strips courts of their power to make precisely these kinds of balancing judgments.

“We urge Congress not to unravel a successful regulatory structure to the detriment of consumers, the industry, and the federal interest in a fair, competitive, and orderly marketplace for alcohol beverages.”

read the  full piece HERE

Social Media site, Facebook, already has a site HERE, opposing HR1161


Want to track this bill in Congress?  go to GOVTRACK.US or

the Library of Congress  site, Thomas

Bill Summary & Status
112th Congress (2011 – 2012)

Parting thoughts: there is a lot of emotion, on both sides, over this issue. Take the time to read, to dig, to find accurate information, not opinion, and then think about it. And write your local representative and let your thoughts be known.

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