ALEXANDRIA, Va. – On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in the alcohol-related case, Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair. Notably, on this same day 100 years ago Congress and the states ratified the 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol. This one-size-fits-all policy experiment turned out to be a failure, and thirteen years later the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition and gave birth to state regulation of alcohol reflective of the attitudes of local communities.
NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser released the following statement on the Supreme Court oral argument:
“The 21st Amendment explicitly gives states the specific authority to regulate alcohol within their borders, a system that has worked well for the last 85 years. In fact, today’s regulatory system and orderly market allows Americans to enjoy the safest, most robust alcohol marketplace in the world. Eroding this time-tested system could not only limit consumer choice, but it would also harm Main Street businesses rooted in their communities – businesses that have worked hard and played by the rules. We appreciate the Justices’ thoughtful questions at today’s oral argument and look forward to a ruling.”
In November, NBWA filed an amicus brief in support of the Tennessee Retailers. In total, 14 briefs were filed by a diverse group of stakeholders in support of the state alcohol regulation and the 21st Amendment. NBWA was joined by 36 state attorneys general, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, 30 public health groups, the Center for Alcohol Policy, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, America’s Beverage Licensees, Consumer Action, Open Markets Institute and other interested parties in defending the 21st Amendment.