Back to the Future With HR 5034

June 2010
by Jeff Carroll
On May 16, 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion in the case of Granholm vs. Heald that significantly altered the way state laws are created and challenged. By concluding that the states of Michigan and New York could not discriminate by allowing in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers while prohibiting out-of-state wineries from doing the same, the court affirmed that the “dormant” part of the Commerce Clause trumps the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. In other words, states have every ability to regulate alcoholic beverages within their borders, but only if the laws treat in-state and out-of-state suppliers evenhandedly.

Exactly five years after the landmark Granholm ruling, the industry is grappling with what could be another seismic shift. HR 5034, crafted by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and supported by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), would “reaffirm and protect the primary authority of states to regulate alcoholic beverages.”

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