With recent attacks on the alcohol regulatory structure in the United States and widespread reports of minors purchasing alcohol on the Internet, the Beer Industry of Florida, Inc. issued a statement of support today for two beer distributors, Reyes Holdings, which owns Florida Distributing Company in Orlando, Florida, and Chesbay Distributing of Virginia . The two beer distributors are locked in a fight with MillerCoors to preserve America's alcohol regulatory regime, known as the "three-tier system" and the nation's long-standing state franchise laws. The statement below was issued by Beer Industry of Florida President, Eric Criss:
Currently, MillerCoors is attempting to federally preempt state beer franchise law through a lawsuit filed in federal court against Chesbay Distributing designed to stop the sale of that beer distributorship to Reyes Holdings.
Beer distributors strongly support laws which preserve America's state-based system of alcohol regulation. This three-tier system is acclaimed by public health experts worldwide. It evolved beginning with the repeal of prohibition in the United States in 1933 and has helped to prevent deaths from counterfeit alcohol and overconsumption relative to many nations.
State-based beer franchise laws are a critical component of the three-tier system in dozens of states across the nation. They are proving to be one of the few remaining protections for local, family-owned, beer distributors against the undue influence of foreign-owned, mega-brewers who control 80 percent of the world beer market. Often, these foreign-owned breweries, including MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch Inbev, are not required to manage the complexities of an effective alcohol regulatory system in other markets around the world. America's communities deserve the protections provided by state franchise laws and the three-tier system.
Recent investigations reveal cracks in the current system of alcohol regulation as a result of a steady stream of lawsuits by companies pushing Internet alcohol sales and the destruction of the three-tier system. An independent, online alcohol purchasing study conducted at the University of North Carolina by Rebecca S. Williams, MHS, PhD and Kurt M. Ribisl, PhD, found that: "Of the 100 orders placed by the underage buyers, 45% were successfully received, 28% were rejected as the result of age verification." More recently, the television news program "20-20" aired a story in which a 13 year-old boy successfully ordered five bottles of vodka off eBay.
Beer distributors are dedicated to keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors and we oppose alcohol sales on the Internet. We encourage companies engaged in the production and sale of alcohol to stop the endless line of lawsuits designed to tear down the system of alcohol regulation that protects our children and our communities. Specifically, we call on MillerCoors to drop its lawsuit against Chesbay Distributing and end its unwarranted attack on family-owned distributorships.
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 Rebecca S. Williams and Kurt M. Ribisl, Internet Alcohol Sales to Minors. Published Online May 7, 2012 at www.archpediatrics.com, copyright 2012 by the American Medical Association.
 Eamon McNiff and Alice Gomstyn, eBay Begins Removing Alcohol Listings After '20/20' Report on Teen Buyer, September 21, 2012. Accessed at: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/kids-buy-alcohol-ebay/story?id=17280467