While Prohibition ended 80 years ago it still lives in on many ways. Post-prohibition does allow for distribution of beer, wine and spirits, however, ABC (alcohol beverage control) laws have been overly controlling and are a direct result of the repeal. Often I remind those around that while in this post prohibition period there are approximately 40,000 ABC laws where a great majority of these are ridiculous laws. Required mark-ups, colour of price label, screw cap allowance, non-allowance of sales or discounts, regulatory required markups and the sundry list goes on and on. There is probably no other consumer product category with more regulation. There is no such thing as a free market in the US as it relates to beer, wine and spirits distribution as prices are manipulated by regulated barriers.
Some people point to Canada as it relates to cross provincial barriers are the worst examples in first world nation-states but to be fair while they may be prohibitive but are no match for the overly complex, overly ridiculous laws and regulations in the United States for cross state exchange of wine, beer and spirits.
Prohibition was a grand failure, a constitution amendment of the absurd and a generator of so many more negative social consequences that linger on ad nausem. I wonder what would have happen to the wine industry if prohibition would not have happened. There is considerable vibrancy in the wine producing community which has nothing to do with ease of doing business in the overly controlled world of ABC as there is no ease of doing business in this era. In 2013, we still have US states that are Franchise distribution states, dry or mixed dry counties or zones. The repeal of prohibition gave too much control to states who controlled every aspect. More so states now in 2013 do not have the a reason to have exceedingly controlling laws–in this era of online information about wine, beer and spirits and makes price points transparent on each computer screen. Awareness and knowledge may not bring change immediately but will someday bring much needed reform.
When I tried recently ordering a wine from a producer in another state I could not as the producer did have the right permits. Ultimately there may be little incentive to get a permit to a potential state that may not purchase enough wine to sustain the cost of the yearly permits. What this means in the bigger picture is that there will not be a level playing field. This is one area where reform is certainly needed hence wine without borders is my advocacy.
I do think that end of prohibition was a great day and I hope someday real reform of ABCs will happen.
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