Monday, June 18, 2012

A Letter from the Distilled Spirits Council on Beer Wholesalers as a Special Interest Meddlers


I enjoyed the Sunday sales article that you picked up.  Over the last 10 years we (Distilled Spirits Council) have gotten some 15 states to begin allowing Sunday sales of spirits.  In all but a few of these states beer and usually wine could already be sold.

While the argument is often made that anyone that really wants spirits can just purchase on Saturdays, Sunday is either the busiest or second busy shopping day of the week.  If your stores are not open when the consumer is shopping it is a huge competitive disadvantage.  A few interesting, but not surprising facts:

·         We almost never got any opposition from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.  They realized that one can get intoxicated on beer and wine.
·         The state monopolies (State Stores) were usually fairly easy to convince that Sunday sales are a good idea.  Since the state reaps all of the wholesaler and/or retail revenue state legislatures were generally open to the idea.  Usually, the only opposition in monopoly states was from the liquor control authority that did not want to have higher sales goals..  But, once convinced that Sunday sales could generate new revenue, some liquor control administrators actually went back to their respective state legislatures and asked for permission to expand Sunday sales.
·         Aside from retail package store operators, some of our biggest opposition came from beer wholesalers.  Since beer was usually already for sale on Sundays the beer industry did not want the competition. 

One of the more comical arguments that people make is that “if the liquor stores are open, people won’t go to church.”  Hmmm.  As I often point out, if going to a liquor store and going to church are mutually exclusive activities for me, then the likelihood that I would ever make it to church at all is rather slim.


David M. Ozgo
Senior Vice President,
 Economic & Strategic Analysis
Distilled Spirits Council

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