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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Latest Attempt to Weaken Local Alcohol Control

March 14, 2011


ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today the Supreme Court of the United States denied a request by Wine Country Gift Baskets to review the case of Wine Country Gift Baskets v. Steen. Today’s order brings to an end this online retailer’s unnecessarily long and drawn-out challenges to Texas law.

In this case, out-of-state, virtual retailers demanded that the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission grant them retail licenses to sell alcohol to Texas consumers. The state of Texas requires alcohol retailers to have a physical presence (i.e. an actual “brick and mortar” facility with a street address); therefore the request of the out-of-state retailers was denied, consistent with state law.

“The National Beer Wholesalers Association applauds the Supreme Court’s order to let stand Texas’ ability – and by extension, all states’ ability – to regulate alcohol distribution and sales as enshrined in the 21st Amendment,” said NBWA President Craig Purser. “The Supreme Court has already declared that the current three-tier system of alcohol distribution is unquestionably legitimate. Today’s ruling once again validates the nation’s effective system of state-based alcohol regulation.”

“In the midst of a soft economy and budget shortfalls, the plaintiffs’ multiple appeals cost the taxpayers of Texas significant resources simply to defend state law which requires an alcohol retailer to have a physical presence in the state in order to sell alcohol within the state’s borders – a law enacted by elected lawmakers who represent the concerns and wishes of Texas residents,” Purser continued. “The fact that this case reached the highest court in the land – after the plaintiffs lost multiple times during their relentless appeals process – clearly demonstrates that the plaintiffs in this case and others who have initiated more than two dozen lawsuits against state alcohol laws will spare no expense and go to any effort to remove time-tested, alcohol regulations and local controls in the pursuit of larger profits.”


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