—Liquor Commission’s Overrides Legislature and Bans Wine Shipments On Its Own—
(CONCORD, New Hampshire)—More than 200,000 wines will become off limits and inaccessible to New Hampshire consumers if the Liquor Commission continues to arbitrarily ban all wine shipments from out-of-state retailers, stores and wine clubs. The current crackdown by the Liquor Commission on shipments from out-of-state retailers began in February after the state legislature rejected a bill instituting the exact kind of ban the Commission is currently instituting on its own without any legislative approval.
Over the past 36 months, 300,000 wines were approved for sale in the United State by the federal government. Because the New Hampshire Liquor Commission currently only lists 7,438 wines for sale in the state, the vast majority of the 300,000 wines approved for sale in the U.S may only be obtained from out-of-state sources. However, 221,000 of the 300,000 wines approved for sale are imported products only available from retailers and wine stores. With the commission independently shutting down shipments from out-of-state stores these wines will no longer be accessible to New Hampshire Consumers unless the legislature acts to stop the Commission from its current actions.
“The Commission’s arbitrary move to stop all wine shipments from out-of-state retailers and wine-clubs is monumentally anti-consumer, not to mention anti-free trade,” said Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers. “The Liquor Commission makes available for sale in New Hampshire only a very tiny minority of the wines that are available around the country and this dearth of selection in state stores explains why New Hampshire consumers have embraced the competitive national wine marketplace that is represented by the direct shipping sales channel.”
New Hampshire consumers have purchased wine from state-licensed, out-of-state wine retailers and wine clubs for well over a decade. In December of 2017, the Liquor Commission sponsored a bill (SB 353) that asked the legislature to end the practice of allowing a consumer to purchase from out-of-state wine stores. That bill was rejected unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee then was killed by the entire Senate after hundreds of consumers wrote asking lawmakers not support the bill. Despite the legislature resoundingly rejecting this proposal, the Liquor Commission went ahead on its own in February telling out-of-state retailers they may no longer ship wine into New Hampshire.
“Lawmakers have a chance to stop the Liquor Commission from its assault on New Hampshire consumers and wine shipments when it considers HB 1626 in a Committee of Conference on Monday,” Wark noted. “We are strongly urging the Committee members to take that opportunity to stop the commission from ignoring the will of the legislature and the desire of consumers to buy the wines they want.”
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Tom Wark, Executive Director
National Association of Wine Retailers
707-266-1449 (O) • 707-246-6451 (M)