HR 5034 alcohol limitation bill in Congress takes a hit

free the grapes.orgAn alcohol limitation bill written by the beer wholesalers and supported by wine and liquor distribution industries (and nicknamed “the wholesalers’ monopoly protection bill”) took some hefty blows in a Congressional hearing on September 29th. Regulatory law expert Tracy Genesen spoke on behalf  of The Wine Institute, a lobbying group which represents many California wineries, outlining the negative impacts that HR 5034 could have upon this growing business sector.

An excerpt from a press release from

Constitutional and regulatory law expert Tracy Genesen testified on behalf of Wine Institute and, following the hearing, spoke during an HR 5034 post-hearing teleconference hosted by Free the Grapes, the grassroots coalition that seeks to remove restrictions in states that still prohibit consumers from purchasing wines directly from wineries and retailers.

Genesen said that it is vital to the industry to be able to direct ship to consumers and that most wineries cannot get wholesale representation. She said the bill is unnecessary special-interest legislation intended to protect wholesalers at the expense of consumers, retailers, importers and the nation’s 7,000 wineries.

In her testimony, Genesen addressed wholesaler claims that the legislation is needed to shore up state laws, noting that states enforce nearly 4,000 alcohol laws which give them broad powers to protect public safety, impose taxes and otherwise limit availability, even to the point of taking direct control of distribution through state-run stores.

“H.R. 5034 is a drastic solution to a problem that does not exist,” said Genesen, in concluding her testimony. “This committee should decisively reject it.” Read more of this press release

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