If you’ve ever visited a state-run wine shop in Pennsylvania, or had a tasting room employee bust out a huge 3-ring binder when you asked if you could ship wine to your aunt in Michigan, then you’ve likely experienced some of the anti-consumer regulations plaguing the wine, beer, and spirits industries.
Even asking your favorite winemaker to sign that special bottle for you is a legal no-no.
The days of prohibition are behind us, but in many respects, much of the fallout from that era continues to haunt us. This is because we as consumers have lacked any sort of voice when decisions and regulations pertaining to the sale and distribution of alcohol are concerned – leaving all the decisions and influence to be made by special interests best served by an antiquated alcohol distribution system. While we certainly think that wholesalers and a distribution system have their place and serve a valuable function, there needs to be equitable representation when regulations affecting consumers are concerned.
The current anti-consumer regulations don’t just hurt sales for a winery and limit choice for a consumer, they hurt engagement. And wine bloggers know best, engagement is king.
The American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) is a new advocacy organization that aims to “ represent the interests of wine lovers and to help this unique group pursue their love of wine”.
Spearheading efforts for the AWCC is Tom Wark. Tom has been a long-time advocate for the rights of wine consumers and runs Wark Communications and the well-respected wine blog, Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog. He is also the founder of the Wine Blog Awards, and is founding member of the Wine Bloggers Conference Advisory Board (which he continues to serve on).
When we asked Tom Wark about the motivations behind the American Wine Consumer Coalition, he said:
The fact is, wine lovers across the country are still subjected to absurdly anti-consumer wine laws and a key reason for this is that consumers’ interests and views are not taken into account by lawmakers or regulators. Why? Because consumers have no advocates that can make their case. That ends with the creation of the American Wine Consumer Coalition.
When an industry becomes overly-regulated or controlled by one-sided interest, free-market idealism (where consumer spending serves as the ultimate voice) can no longer be counted on as adequate. Up until now, the consumer has largely been dismissed as a relevant party when decisions are made and laws passed that affect the sale and distribution of alcohol. Horray for Tom Wark and the others at the AWCC for stepping up to the plate!
If you’re interested to learn more about the American Wine Consumers Coalition, please visit their site, which launches today. To support the coalition, you can donate or join one of their membership options available for individual consumers, businesses, and associations. Individual consumers who wish to join the AWCC will not only be supporting a great cause, but will enjoy member benefits (namely in the form of discounts) that any eonophile will surely appreciate.
In the words of Tom Wark,
For the AWCC to be as effective as possible, it needs to gather under tens of thousands of wine lovers willing to band together for their own benefit and the benefit of other wine lovers. We hope to build a multi-thousand member coalition that can’t be ignored.