Wine Spectator - July 16, 2021
Members of Congress propose lifting long-standing ban on wine, beer and spirits shipments by the U.S. Postal Service
U.S. mail carriers have not been allowed to deliver a bottle of wine since a 1909 law banned shipping alcohol in the mail. But 19 members of Congress, led by Reps. Jackie Speier of California and Dan Newhouse of Washington, introduced the USPS Shipping Equity Act on May 17 to end that ban. Companion legislation has been introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. “The landscape has radically changed over the course of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” said Speier, who has previously introduced three other versions of the bill. “The time to [repeal] this Prohibition-era ban is long overdue.”
Wine’s growing base of online shoppers would benefit from a new route for direct-to-consumer shipments. Speier points out that e-commerce sales have grown significantly; industry analyst IWSR found that the value of U.S. alcohol e-commerce grew 42 percent in 2020, and predicts that the U.S. will become the world’s largest digital alcohol market by 2022. Speier adds that U.S. wineries directly shipped 8.4 million cases of wine to consumers in 2020, a 27 percent increase over the previous year.