Release Date July 11, 2011

Alcohol Wholesalers Contribute Over $82 Million Toward Political Influence Since 2006

—Alcohol Wholesaler Lobbying and Contributions Dwarf Rest of Industry—

(Sacramento, CA)—A new report issued today by the National Association of Wine Retailers shows that wine wholesalers have spent more than $82 million dollars on state and federal campaign contribution and federal lobbying over just the past three election cycles from 2006 through 2010. The amount dwarfs that spent by the rest of the alcohol industry and came in advance of wholesalers’ current attempt to pass radical legislation in Congress that would benefit only the wholesale tier of the alcohol industry.

The just released report, “Toward Liquor Domination,” outlines the extraordinary amounts of money wholesalers spend to retain their influence in state capitals and in Washington, D.C. and to assure policies specifically protecting the wholesaler from competition are retained and advanced.

Political Spending Puts Wholesaler Agenda In Front of Congress
“When you look at these kinds of expenditures by wholesalers over such a short time period, it’s not hard to understand why they are currently pushing federal legislation that would prohibit judicial challenges to archaic, constitutionally questionable and discriminatory laws the benefit only the wholesaler,” said Daniel Posner, Board Member of the National Assocition of Wine Retailers. “House Resolution 1161, now currently awaiting hearings in the House Judiciary Committee, would assure that alcohol policy is dominated by wholesalers in the legislative venues they control via enormous campaign contributions and lobbying.”

The new report shows that since 2006, alcohol wholesalers have spent nearly $60 million in campaign contributions at the state level alone. This is nearly double the amount that wineries, distillers, brewers and wine stores have contributed combined.

The key points in “Toward LIQUOR Domination”:

1. In the three election cycles between 2006 and 2010, American alcohol wholesalers have spent $82 million on contributions to federal and state political campaigns and federal lobbying efforts.

2. In the last three election cycles between 2006 and 2010, American alcohol wholesalers have spent more than $15.4 million dollars on contributions to federal election campaigns.

3. Wholesalers have spent nearly double the rest of the alcohol industry on federal campaign contribu­tions over the past three federal election cycles.

4. The primary wholesaler trade associations, the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association, alone have spent more than $8.8 million on federal lobbying over the past three election cycles between 2006 and 2010.

5. Nationwide, wholesalers have contributed more than $58 million to state political campaigns in the past three election cycles between 2006 and 2010.

6. Wholesalers have spent roughly twice what all other sectors of the American alcohol beverage trade have spent on state political campaigns during the past three election cycles between 2006 and 2010.

7. Due to their tremendous influence and access purchased with profits guaranteed by a state man­dated use of the wholesale tier, wholesalers have been successful in significantly gaming the alcohol regulatory system to their advantage with protectionist laws in nearly every state.

8. The success of the American alcohol wholesaler in buying protection from competition has put the other sectors of the alcohol industry under their control, reduced state tax revenues, and severely lim­ited consumer access to new products.

NAWR is a national organization of wine retailers, associated businesses and supporters of fair trade that seek a well-regulated and fair market for the sale and distribution of wine. For more information: