Home Industry News Releases Report Shows $237 Million in Political Spending By American Alcohol Industry

Report Shows $237 Million in Political Spending By American Alcohol Industry


Wholesalers Dominate Political Spending and Support Trump in 2020 Election

February 22nd – (Salem, OR)—A new report detailing money spent on political influence by the Alcohol industry shows more than $237 million spent on campaign contributions and lobbying over the past two election cycles. “Politics Under the Influence”, produced by Tom Wark of Wark Communications, looks at alcohol industry political contributions and lobbying at the state and federal level from 2017 to 2020. 

Click to download “Politics Under the Influence”.

Perhaps the most stunning revelation in the report is that American wholesalers alone spent more than $55 million on campaign contributions to federal and state political races in the past four years. That figure is nearly double what all wineries, brewers, distillers, and wine retailers spent in the same time period.

Report Shows Wholesalers Supported Trump

Additionally, the report shows that American beer and wine wholesalers supported President Trump in the 2020 election by giving 60% of presidential contributions to the former president. Wineries, brewers, distillers, and wine retailers all supported President Biden in the 2020 campaign, each delivering more than 75% of their presidential campaign contributions to the newly elected president.

“The middlemen wholesalers have long been known to dominate political giving in the alcohol industry,” noted Wark. “The profound amount of campaign contributions this report attributes to wholesalers is partly explained by the fact that within the alcohol industry wholesalers have the most to lose given that most states still mandate that all alcohol flow through wholesalers before arriving at restaurants and retailers. Protecting that state-mandated quasi-monopoly is at the top of the wholesalers’ agenda.”

“Politics Under the Influence” also outlines which individual members of the alcohol industry gave the most, which candidates received the most donations from wholesalers, producers, and retailers, which states saw the largest amount of wholesaler campaign contributions donated on a per capita basis and who were the most profligate spenders on lobbying state and federal officials. 

About Tom Wark

The author of the report, Tom Wark, is veteran communication and marketer in the wine industry and also serves as the executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers. “Politics Under the Influence” was published at Wark’s FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog, where he has reported and written about the intersection of culture, business, and politics in the wine industry.

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