Illinois Wine Consumers Fight Alcohol Lobby, Bad Laws

I write from Indiana, which has laws which severely restrict direct shipping of wine. How do these laws get passed? It’s simple – distributors of alcoholic beverages have a vested interest in being the only way for wineries to get to consumers, and they contribute heavily to the politicians that pass such laws. Now, our neighbors in Illinois are picking up the gauntlet and organizing to pressure politicians to act in the interest of the consumer. They have formed the Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition (IWCC). From their press release:

Illinois wine consumers were stripped of their right to purchase wine from out-of-state wine retailers in 2008. The passage of HB 429 removed this right after Illinoisans had enjoyed full access to the American wine market for 15 years. The fact that consumers were never taken into account during deliberations over HB 429 helped give impetus to the creation of the IWCC…

“The recent restrictions on consumer access to wine in Illinois that resulted from HB 429 were clearly nothing more than payoff to the well-heeled Illinois alcohol distributors, the only group that benefits from restricting access to wine,” said XXXX. “In the past five years Illinois alcohol distributors have given more than $3.5 million dollars in political contributions in the past five years to help grease the wheel’s of anti-consumer wine legislation.”

I’m excited to see consumers organizing in this way, and I hope they can make some headway against the special interests that craft these bad laws. All too often, one hears the logic that, “minors will buy wine illegally if wineries can direct ship to consumers.” Do we really think teens will order up a $30 Pinot Noir so they can get high?

Visit the IWCC website and offer your support!