—New Hampshire Liquor Commission Strikes at Consumer Choice and Free Market With Wine Shipping Ban—
(Concord, NEW HAMPSHIRE)—If the New Hampshire Liquor Commission gets its way and sees SB 353 passed into law, New Hampshire wine consumers will see a vital out of state wine shipping channel cut off. For this reason, New Hampshire consumers, the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) and wine consumer advocacy organization WineFreedom have opposed the Liquor Commission’s proposed ban on wine shipments from out-of-state wine stores, which currently is awaiting its fate in the Senate Commerce Committee.
New Hampshire wine lovers have come to rely on the direct shipment of wine from out-of-state wine stores and wineries due largely to the very limited choice of wines provided by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. Last year, Granite State wine lovers spent $11,000,000 with out of state wine sellers, including $3 million with the out-of-state wine stores, wine retailers, wine auction houses and wine-of-the-month clubs from which SB 353 would ban shipments. This $3,000,000 spent by New Hampshire wine lovers with out-of-state wine stores represents 27% of all direct shipments, despite retailers representing only 6% of those out-of-state sellers licensed to ship into the state. The other 94% are wineries.
POOR WINE SELECTION IN NH MAKES DIRECT WINE SHIPMENTS CRITICAL
This outsized emphasis on shipments from wine retailers across the country into New Hampshire is due largely to the fact that only retailers, and not wineries, sell imported and rare wines in New Hampshire and across the country. Over the past three years, more than 215,000 imported wines, many of them rare, collectible and hard to find bottlings, have been approved for sale in the United States. Yet the New Hampshire Liquor Commissions offers a mere 10,000 imported wines in the state, amounting to less than 5% of imported wines available to New Hampshire consumers. This explains why the retailer direct shipping channel is overly important to the state’s consumers.
“The Liquor Commission’s proposal to ban New Hampshire consumers from continuing to buy and receive wine shipments from out-of-state wine stores and retailers is an affront to the idea of a free market, to consumer choice and to free trade,” said Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers. “If the commission wants to protect itself from competition then it should do a better job of offering New Hampshire wine lovers real choice in wine, rather than trying to cut off consumer choice in wine.”
At the Senate Commerce Committee Hearing in January on SB 353, Liquor Commission Chairman Joseph Mollica told senators that consumers “won’t notice at all” when they can no longer reach to out-of-state sources to buy hundreds of thousands of wines unavailable locally.
NAWR, WineFreedom, and consumers are asking the Senate Commerce Committee members to kill SB 353 and preserve consumer access to wine as well as a free market in wine for New Hampshire. Consumers can learn more about the harmful and anti-consumer impact of the Liquor Commissions SB 353 at WineFreedom.org
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Tom Wark, Executive Director
National Association of Wine Retailers
707-266-1449 • tom@nawr.