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U.S. Postal Service Alcohol Delivery Idea Criticized By Merchants

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  1. I don't understand why merchants would resist an additional option to FedEx and UPS for shipping. Go with the best deal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Veggo

      In my experience, it's the small, corner store-type retailers -- i.e.: NOT the ones who have websites, attracting potential customers from across the U.S.; rather, the ones who *only* sell over-the-counter -- that fear any sort of shipping whatsoever. They're concerned that no one will come to their store, that everyone will sit at home and buy their Budweiser, their Kendall-Jackson, or their Jack Daniels via the internet.

      That said, and leaving the issue of competence aside,I'm with you: what difference does it make if it's UPS/FedEx delivering my wine, or the USPS?!?!?!

      And the article itself ("Oh, the beer run . . . ") is complete and utter BS -- the "beer run" is because the party is either running out of beer, or there's a party about the happen, or . . . NONE of which will be eliminated by receiving a delivery from the United States Postal Service! This is akin to the oft-cited concerns of 16-year olds being able to order beer off the internet . . . no 16-year old does that UNLESS they are a decoy of law enforcement!

    2. Hey, my postman will come to know that I love wines, like my UPS lady, and my Fed-X guy. Soon, I will be a mystery to no one!

      Hunt

      1. Time for USPS to make some money, go for it!

        1. Yes, USPS needs the business but I am glad to be a *retired*
          mail carrier. Those cases are HEAVY! I hope customers will keep their pathways and stairs free of ice and snow so the carrier and booze don't tumble before they get to the door. And keep the extra effort in mind at holiday tipping time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            Better than those boxes of books I used to deliver.

          2. Another view- from the article: "Even if the law is changed to allow delivery of alcohol, state laws might prohibit brewers from selling directly to the consumer".

            USPS is trying to get into a market that is under attack all over the country. Only shippers large enough to be able to afford the requirements of individual states (permits, tax collection, etc.) may be able to play in this league going forward. If states can now get FedEx and UPS to rat out 'illegal' shippers (and I know they can), I'd think the USPS would be an even better source of info for the states. JMHO.

            1. The real resistance here would be from wholesale liquor distributors who having been waging a heated battle against any laws that remove the control of the distribution of alcoholic beverages from their clutches. They can't make money if people buy directly from the producer.

              Fortunately, this special interest group appears to be waging a losing battle. If the U.S.P.S. can deliver my wine cheaper than others, then, I say, "More power to 'em!"

              5 Replies
              1. re: gfr1111

                If, by 'special interest group' you mean the wholesalers, I don't see how they're losing the battle. I'm very much aware of this whole thing. That's what I meant by "under attack". Just recently, New York State has stepped up aggressive enforcement of it's law against NY residents receiving wine from out-of-state retailers. One of New Jersey's largest online wine merchants has received a cease and desist order stopping them from shipping into New York.

                The wholesalers want their cut and are a strong and cunning lobby. One of their arguments is that alcohol shipping allows access by underage consumers. This in spite of the fact that UPS, FedEx, and presumably USPS (when they begin), require positive ID and will not leave a package without signature, AND they charge the shipper something like $3.75 for getting that. This argument is pretty much BS, meant to play on the public sentiment against young drinking, and drinking in general. It just doesn't hold up, but the wholesalers play it up big anyway. Not that I have an opinion on this or anything.......... ;o]]]]]

                Curious as to your info that says they're losing.

                1. re: Midlife

                  Midlife,

                  You said that you were curious as to the source of my information that says the wholesalers are losing the battle against shipping from wineries to consumers directly. I may be wrong. This was a general impression, based on one article and my own state's battle on the topic.

                  I read an article five years or so ago that listed the number of states that allowed "direct to consumer" shipping of wine. It was a chart, as I recall. The number of states that allowed such shipping had increased, according to the chart, with many states still in limbo. The trend looked encouraging.

                  Also, I live in Florida and, after a long period of a back-and-forth battle in the Florida legislature, with the law changing at a dizzying pace, the courts finally ruled that "direct to consumer" shipping must be allowed.

                  (I've actually shipped bottles of wine to Florida from California, which I could not do in previous years. California winery personnel used to throw up their hands in horror at the prospect of shipping to Florida--one of the most aggressive states in enforcing its formerly monopolistic laws on the subject.) Anyway, I did ship a few times shortly after the law changed.

                  So those factors were the basis of my impression, but it's all pretty vague and I could be wrong. I am sorry to hear about the situation in New York. The fact that an on-line shipper was sending wine to New Jersey until recently shows the fluidity of the situation.

                  1. re: gfr1111

                    I think there's a lot of confusion surrounding wine shipping because there is no formal enforcement apparatus at either the state or federal level that I know of. There are laws and regulations, but they're violated routinely. Right his minute you can go to the FedEx state-by-state wine shipping guide, select New Jersey as the 'from' state and New York as the 'to' state, and the chart says YES, they will accept shipments from licensed shippers. That means 'licensed' in the ORIGINATING state, not the destination state. The FedEx disclaimer says: "it is the responsibility of the shipper to fully comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations and orders applicable to shipments of alcohol".

                    So............... what goes on daily is not necessarily in synch with the laws involved. A new wine consumer advocacy organization just published a state-by-state 'report card' of "wine friendliness" to consumers. See "Consuming Concerns" @ http://www.wineconsumers.org/news-and...

                    When this guide was made public I posted a link to it on a wine aficionado talk board and the topic was flooded with comments regarding how what the organization was reporting was not what was reality in that person's state. This was, apparently, based on the fact that a lot of these shipments (if not most) fly under the radar. IE- a person in New York says he receives wine shipments from California routinely, when it's actually against the law in New York.

                    The bottom line of all of this, and the point of this topic, is that these anti-shipping laws are largely the result of heavy lobbying by the wine and spirits wholesalers who want their cut on ALL alcohol reaching consumers in their states by ensuring that it must pass through their hands on the way. Money talks.

                    BTW- That report says that, in Florida, you are allowed to receive direct shipment from out-of-state wineries but NOT from out-of-state RETAILERS (who, BTW, are usually selling at lower prices than the wineries.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Every retailer sells below wineries -- which are THE most expensive place to purchase wines . . .

                      1. re: zin1953

                        Sorry, Jason............ I assume you're picking on the word "usually", but but that's an over-statement. I know of many independent retailers that do NOT undersell the winery prices of the small-production wineries they carry. That's one of the reasons they are able to buy their wine.

                        Legal or not................ my phone used to ring when I'd be found listing a wine on line below the winery price. Sometimes a dollar or two was OK, but not always. It didn't happen often, but it happened.

                        The shop I work in now carries perhaps 50 wines that are very difficult to find at retail. They're not huge name labels, but from very good small producers who don't really need to sell to retail at all. Underselling would definitely jeopardize those relationships.