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Newhouse Introduces Legislation to Expand Consumer Choice, Increase Market Access for Local Breweries & Wineries


May 26th – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the USPS Shipping Equity Act alongside Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and 8 original House co-sponsors. This legislation would end the Prohibition-era ban that prevents the United States Postal Service (USPS) from shipping alcoholic beverages to consumers and allow them to ship directly from licensed producers and retailers to consumers over the age of 21, in accordance with state and local laws at the delivery location. This bill is critical in leveling the playing field and increasing consumer and manufacturer choice while bringing in millions of dollars in revenue per year.

“While other carriers deliver alcoholic beverages directly to consumers, current law prohibits USPS from taking similar action. Allowing USPS to deliver wine, beer, and spirits produced across our great nation provides another option for shipping carriers. This is extremely beneficial to small craft breweries and locally owned wineries, especially in rural regions like Central Washington, who struggle to gain market access. The time has come for us to shatter these barriers and unlock the tremendous potential of the wine and alcoholic beverage industry,” said Rep. Newhouse. “This crucial legislation has the potential to create opportunity for the wine, beer, and spirits landscape, foster economic growth, and empower consumers and businesses alike.”

“The outdated prohibition on shipping alcohol through the Postal Service is bad for consumers and bad for small businesses—imposing unnecessary costs and hassle. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Newhouse on this long-overdue, bipartisan reform to support local brewers, vineyards, and distillers by improving their affordable shipping options and opening up access to new markets,” said Rep. Wexton.

“Wineries, breweries, and cideries in the Salinas Valley and South Bay could use another safe delivery option to get products directly to adults nationwide. This bipartisan bill smartly updates our laws so American-owned businesses can use USPS to distribute to underserved communities in accordance with state laws. It’s a win-win-win – for rural communities, agricultural businesses, and the Postal Service,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

“While prohibition may have been repealed in 1933, it is still alive and well in the operations of the Postal Service. The NRLCA would like to thank Congressman Newhouse and Congresswoman Wexton for introducing the USPS Shipping Equity Act, legislation that would end an archaic Prohibition-era ban that prevents the Postal Service from delivering alcoholic beverages to consumers who are over the age of 21. Competitors of the Postal Service are already allowed to deliver these types of products. By allowing the Postal Service to compete as well, it will open up a new revenue source in a growing market. The Postal Service is constantly recognized as the most trusted government agency, and we’re confident if given the chance, and acting within the state and local delivery laws, the Postal Service can be successful in the direct-to-consumer alcohol shipping business.” – Ronnie Stutts, President, National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA)

“Wineries from the Napa Valley to the Texas Hill Country and the Columbia Valley in Washington have enjoyed great success safely shipping their products directly to consumers. Direct-to-consumer wine shipping is now permitted in 47 states, and was a lifeline for the American wine industry through the pandemic. The USPS Shipping Equity Act will open up one more avenue for wineries to legally get their products to consumers in a safe and effective manner. We want to thank Representative Newhouse for his excellent leadership on this issue.” – Debra Dommoen, Chair, WineAmerica & Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs, Treasury Wine Estates Americas

“We thank Representatives Newhouse and Wexton for their bi-partisan legislation. As our small, domestic businesses have grown over the past 15 years, allowing the USPS to ship craft spirits will provide access to another important delivery option for small distillers in the U.S. Many of those distilleries are located in rural areas where support of their local Main Street matters. Access to the thirty-one thousand post offices in the U.S. would be a game changer, helping their small businesses to succeed and grow. We hope the Congress will act soon on this important small business initiative.” – Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirits Association

“Small and independent breweries produce hundreds of styles of beer, and due to distributor consolidation there are fewer opportunities to get their products to consumers. Direct-to-consumer shipping is a critical way for these businesses to make their low volume products accessible to the people who want to buy it. 11 states and Washington, D.C. already allow breweries to ship beer directly to consumers, the USPS Shipping Equity Act is commonsense legislation that provides those breweries with another way to access the market.” – Bob Pase, President & CEO, Brewers Association

“NALC applauds Rep. Newhouse for reintroducing the USPS Shipping Equity Act. The bill is an important step toward meeting the growing needs of our customers while generating revenue for the Postal Service, expanding the agency’s service opportunities, and supporting small businesses nationwide.” – National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Read the full text of the bill here.

Original sponsors of the legislation include Reps. Newhouse (WA-04), Wexton (D-VA), Mace (R-SC), Bonamici (D-OR), Grijalva (D-AZ), Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Lofgren (D-CA), Cleaver (D-MO), Val Hoyle (D-OR), and Beyer (D-VA).

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