Beer, Wine, Spirits Producer and Importer Associations Oppose Bill Allowing States to Discriminate Against Consumers
WASHINGTON (March 17, 2011) – The Brewers Association, WineAmerica, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Wine Institute, Beer Institute and the National Association of Beverage Importers, associations representing virtually all alcohol beverages sold in the 50 states, today called on Members of Congress to reject the CARE Act (H.R. 1161), legislation backed by the wholesale tier of the alcohol beverage industry.
The producer groups stated: "We strongly oppose H.R. 1161, which, like its predecessor in the last Congress, is unnecessary. Its provisions would harm consumers and the marketplace, limit consumer choice, and allow states to enact protectionist and anti-competitive laws. If this bill became law, it would make it much harder for brewers, vintners, distillers and importers to get their products to market.
"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."
The producer groups in February 2011 sent a letter to Members of Congress in which they expressed their opposition to this legislation. A copy of the Congressional letter is attached to this statement.
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Bob Pease, Brewers Association
Nancy Light, Wine Institute
Frank Coleman, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
Lindsay Mize for the Beer Institute
Cary M. Greene, Esq., WineAmerica
William T. Earle, NABI