Ship it USPS (Maybe)

The Brewers Association recently announced news of legislation that would (finally) allow the United States Postal Service to ship beer. Now this wouldn’t be a blanket across the US thing. Here are the details:

“On Monday, May 17, Representatives Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the United States Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Equity ActOpens in new window, bipartisan legislation that would allow the USPS to ship alcohol in states where it is currently legal to do so.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated business closures and restrictions, small and independent breweries have seen consumer demand increase for products delivered directly to their front door. A consumer survey by SOVOS Ship Compliant and Harris Poll found that 84% of regular craft beer drinkers – defined as those who drink craft beer at least once per month – want to be able to legally purchase beer via direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping to their homes. Additionally, the survey found that more than 73% say the pandemic has increased their interest in purchasing craft beer via DtC shipping.

To meet that demand, we have seen state laws expanding to allow shipping and delivery of alcohol products, as well as allowing alcohol “to-go” at restaurant and bars. The USPS Shipping Equity Act would help small and independent breweries, wineries, and distilleries meet that demand by allowing the postal service to provide another method of getting their product to market.”

The TL:DR of it, is that rules that have been bent for Covid should stay this way so that shipping beer can become a standard business right.

The Firkin for November 2011

From the Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious file, “…the U.S. Postal Service faces a growing financial crisis, U.S. senators think the agency can solve some of its problems by turning to alcohol. Lawmakers introduced a bipartisan reform plan Wednesday that would, among other things, allow postal workers to deliver wine and beer in a bid to boost revenues.” (source of quote, unknown)

Ya’ think? I guess necessity and/or bankruptcy is truly the mother of invention. For years, it has been illegal for me or anyone else to send a beer to anyone through the mail. But apparently, when it is that or losing massive amounts of money, the rules are suddenly open to debate.

This is something that should have been allowed years ago. Archaic laws that allow some states to ship to others or forbids a brewer from sending to a customer are plain stupid. If Republican’s are looking for a job killer, here’s one. I know of more than one brewery that would ship their beer across the U.S. if the laws were not so Byzantine. And if breweries were allowed to ship, that would probably require at least a part time person be added. And that person would have more money to spend and the economy might start trickling up (like it usually does). And not only breweries would be in the game, I would expect bottle shops to become major shippers. Especially if they have any limited releases in stock.

If there was one simple national standard that allowed for actual interstate commerce, then I truly believe that breweries would be adding buy buttons on their websites and beer traders would send even more beer than they do now without fear or reprisal. The USPS has the infrastucture to take advantage of it. They could have a special box that they sold for alcohol shipments. They could even charge extra for “fragile” delivery. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts would become a commodity they could sell too.

This country needs to “see” which industries are growing and “help” them by either enacting laws or flat out ignoring the stupid ones on the book. Our government cannot just bow to the whims of whoever is lobbying with larger wads of cash. Last time I checked, those were the people laying off employees.

So what is holding this up Post Office?