NBWA Statement on Supreme Court Ruling | NBWA: America's Beer Distributors

Media Contact: LAUREN KANE

lkane@nbwa.org; (703) 519-3097

Press Releases| Jun 26, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – National Beer Wholesalers Association President & CEO Craig Purser issued the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court decision in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Thomas: 

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirms many fundamental principles that are crucial to the effective regulation of alcohol. As the Court stated, the 21st Amendment ‘…allows each State leeway to enact the measures that its citizens believe are appropriate to address the public health and safety effects of alcohol use and to serve other legitimate interests…’

“Today’s decision also strikes down a specific Tennessee law that requires two years of residency for alcohol retailers as part of a broader 10 year renewal requirement. This Tennessee durational residency requirement is different from any other in the country, and the Court found that it did not support the public interest in this case.

“The Court was deliberate in clarifying that this case was not a ruling on the three-tier system. It reaffirms that the basic model and essential features of the three-tier system are legitimate. It recognizes that requiring industry participants to be physically present in the states where they operate – something NBWA believes to be essential to the three-tier system – is legitimate as well. More broadly, today's decision establishes a framework for state regulators and responsible industry participants to advance and support legitimate state laws that are essential to an orderly alcohol marketplace. 

“We are confident based on the Supreme Court’s comments reaffirming the public interest in state-led alcohol regulation that effective state alcohol laws will continue to withstand legal scrutiny.

“NBWA remains committed to supporting and defending state regulation of alcohol, which works so well for so many.”

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The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors with operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Licensed at the federal and state levels, beer distributors get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to stores, restaurants and other licensed retail accounts through a transparent and accountable regulatory system. Distributors build brands of all sizes -- from familiar domestic beers to new startup labels and imports from around the world – and generate enormous consumer choice while supporting 141,000 quality jobs in their home communities. Beer distributors work locally to keep communities safe by sponsoring programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and work to eliminate underage drinking.