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Wine Fine:The price of drink
Reason ^ | 8/1/2002 | Mike Lynch

Posted on 08/19/2002 11:31:29 AM PDT by WindMinstrel

A fed-up consumer calls it "socialism." A fed-up retailer calls it "state-sponsored gouging." They’re referring to an Ohio law that requires vintners, distributors, and retailers to jack up the price of a bottle of wine a total of 135 percent before it hits the shelf. As a result, wine costs up to 50 percent more in Ohio than in other states, translating into $100 million a year that Buckeye State residents could spend on something else.

"I don’t know how this could possibly benefit the public," Tom Jackson, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Grocers Association, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which documented the stupidity of the state’s wine control regime in early March. The paper claimed Ohio is the worst among 17 states that regulate the price at which wine is sold.

It may be the worst, but all 50 states have a strictly enforced three-tier regime to regulate the sale of alcohol. Vintners must sell to wholesalers, wholesalers to retailers, and retailers to the public. Twenty states allow vintners to sell directly to consumers, through either mail order or the Internet. Not one state allows small vintners to bypass the first middlemen and sell directly to retailers.

The protectionist regimes are generally safe in state legislatures, but they are coming under increasing attack through the courts and the Internet. The Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit legal group, is challenging a New York law that prevents direct wine sales from other states. Wine lovers can also take matters into their own hands. In Ohio, for example, wine enthusiasts buy direct from out-of-state stores. The law requires them to register these purchases and pay the markup. But as The Plain Dealer notes, "many bypass that step."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: booze; hooch; ripple; taxation; thunderbird; wine
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1 posted on 08/19/2002 11:31:30 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: WindMinstrel
does anyone know how laws like this came about? It is from the end of Prohibition, or just political cronyism? I'm irked that I can't buy wines online because I live in CT. Doesn't quite make sense to me.
2 posted on 08/19/2002 11:32:58 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: WindMinstrel
They regulate the price of beer and booze as well.
3 posted on 08/19/2002 11:35:26 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: WindMinstrel
Might it be possible to get around this by the vintners charging some sort of "service fee", and lowering the bottle price to a dime, so that the minimum markup is calculated on the dime, rather than the net per bottle wholesale cost? Maybe they could call it a club, with the membership dues fixed and the bottle price real low. The Costco of wine.
4 posted on 08/19/2002 11:37:59 AM PDT by Still Thinking
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To: WindMinstrel
does anyone know how laws like this came about? It is from the end of Prohibition, or just political cronyism? I'm irked that I can't buy wines online because I live in CT. Doesn't quite make sense to me.

I had the exact same reaction. Who benefits by such laws?

5 posted on 08/19/2002 12:03:57 PM PDT by balrog666
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To: steve50
I thought the price of my Mad Dog 20/20 was way too high here in Ohio
6 posted on 08/19/2002 12:05:05 PM PDT by steve50
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To: WindMinstrel
Sad

If we could just elect some republicans they'd fix all this....

Oh yeah, never mind.

7 posted on 08/19/2002 12:08:43 PM PDT by WhiteGuy
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To: WindMinstrel
does anyone know how laws like this came about? It is from the end of Prohibition, or just political cronyism? I'm irked that I can't buy wines online because I live in CT. Doesn't quite make sense to me.

It's brutal out there if you are a wine-lover. I would probably be much more into wine myself if it wasn't so difficult to get fine wine at a reasonable price. But the hodge-podge of various laws and regulations out there make it difficult for all but the very rich to build a decent wine cellar.

In order to understand how all of this took place, you need to understand that Prohibition was never really repealed in this country. When the Eighteenth Amendment was overturned in 1933 (or was it 1932?) by the Twenty-first Amendment, it only affected federal statutes regarding the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcoholic beverages. States and counties were still free to set their own laws.

Most of these states and counties, rather than repealing their Prohibition laws outright (or keeping them in place), used it as an opportunity to tightly control the sale of alcoholic beverages (and maximizing their tax revenues) by erecting a complex set of laws and regulations that make it all but impossible for private business owners to get in the business without paying extravagant licensing fees. All under the guise of "public safety", of course.

8 posted on 08/19/2002 12:34:10 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: WindMinstrel; Roscoe
Beer distributorships are also a cesspool of political favoritism and race politics (Yo! Roscoe! You listenin?). As I enjoy pointing out to the Drug Warriors, the corruption in the alchohol business comes from the remaining bluenose laws that are supposed to protect us from demon rum's bad influences. Simply decriminalzing pot without a regulatory framework is likely to work best, and beer and wine laws could be minimized further, all to the benefit of society. This issue just happens to put a value to that benefit.
9 posted on 08/19/2002 1:45:10 PM PDT by eno_
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To: eno_
Beer distributorships are also a cesspool of political favoritism and race politics

Your obsession with race is showing again.

10 posted on 08/20/2002 12:56:18 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe; WindMinstrel; balrog666; Bikers4Bush; SamAdams76
My obsession? Rosoce here is about to give us an object lesson: He is a Drug Warrior who will call anyone who thinks the way Budweiser and others hand out distributorships based on skin color (and other corrupt and/or racist practices) is themselves racist. THAT's how much is at stake in the current corrupt system of alcohol distribution laws. They are a legally enshrined racial shakedown in urban areas. And where it isn't race politics at work, distributorships are simply a way of setting up sham businesses as a political payoff, and a hidden tax on Joe Sixpack.
11 posted on 08/20/2002 1:26:00 AM PDT by eno_
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To: eno_
My obsession?

Your racist bigotry.

12 posted on 08/20/2002 8:58:52 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe
Your racist bigotry.

Why is it racist bigotry to speak the truth about beer distributorships?

13 posted on 08/20/2002 9:04:19 AM PDT by balrog666
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To: WindMinstrel
Here in Rhode Island it certainly is a cesspool. Spirit retailers are only allowed to own one store, so the cartel has Mr. owning one, Mrs. owning another, Son has another, and Daughter another, etc., so about three or four well connected families own the state spirit retailing.

Then at the distributor level, only one distributor for each brand is allowed to distribute statewide. So, we have three distributors, but surprisingly they all share the same address, billing system, and family ownership.

Then, retailers have not been allowed to advertise, so there's no vehicle to compare prices amongst the differing family cartels.

Our sports club, since we have a dram license, is required to buy from the distributor, but the distributor price is higher than buying from the retailer, as the retail cartels have "buying power" and influence with the distributor, thus getting "quantity" considerations.

But then again, everything about Rhode Island is corrupt, and the RAT politicians control everything, in concert with the Italian underworld.

14 posted on 08/20/2002 9:24:07 AM PDT by aShepard
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To: balrog666
Why is it racist bigotry to speak the truth about beer distributorships?

I guess this is your answer...

15 posted on 08/20/2002 9:30:30 AM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
The sound of your evidence?
16 posted on 08/20/2002 9:51:15 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe; balrog666
I have no opinion on the subject; however, it seems like a reasonable question. Why is it racist bigotry to point out that there are racial preferences in the alcohol industry? Assuming, of course, that it is true...
17 posted on 08/20/2002 9:56:01 AM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
I have no opinion on the subject; however, it seems like a reasonable question.

Reasonable? It assumes as fact that which is not in evidence.

18 posted on 08/20/2002 10:00:22 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: balrog666
Yo! Roscoe! You listenin? -- Eno_

What's that crap?

19 posted on 08/20/2002 10:02:35 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe
Hence my disclaimer - "assuming it is true". Is it your contention that it is, in fact, not true, or merely that it is not proven to be true?
20 posted on 08/20/2002 10:02:35 AM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
Is it your contention that it is, in fact, not true, or merely that it is not proven to be true?

Let's see the evidence. [crickets]

21 posted on 08/20/2002 10:06:16 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: Roscoe
Then you don't intend to answer the question?
22 posted on 08/20/2002 10:09:05 AM PDT by general_re
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To: Roscoe
Pop quiz Roscoe: What business are Jesse Jackson's sons in?
23 posted on 08/20/2002 10:14:30 AM PDT by eno_
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To: general_re
Does it suprise you Roscoe screeches racism about this? Yup, a Jesse Jackson shakedown. It doesn't get get to be any more clear cut a racket than that. Racism, oh yeah, that's the ticket, Roscoe. Be a man and apologise.
24 posted on 08/20/2002 10:17:38 AM PDT by eno_
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To: general_re
Let's see the evidence. [crickets]
25 posted on 08/20/2002 10:20:10 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: eno_
Yo! Roscoe! You listenin? -- Eno_

Yeah, I'm listening, bigot.

26 posted on 08/20/2002 10:21:32 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: WindMinstrel
My wife and I travel to a neighboring state approximately twice a year to purchase wine. I drink at least a bottle a week, so our savings are significant.
27 posted on 08/20/2002 10:23:05 AM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: eno_
I don't honestly know enough about the situation to have an opinion on it. But assuming arguendo that it is true that there are racial preferences in how distributorships are given out, I fail to see how calling attention to it is racist or bigoted. The truth may certainly be uncomfortable for some, but that's hardly racism. If it is not true, on the other hand, it should be easy enough to refute without resorting to labeling the charge "racist" either.
28 posted on 08/20/2002 10:24:08 AM PDT by general_re
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To: eno_
Simply decriminalzing pot without a regulatory framework is likely to work best

Yeah and everyone should get a new car for free. And be able to fly by flapping their arms.

29 posted on 08/20/2002 10:24:19 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Roscoe
Answer the question. (crickets)
30 posted on 08/20/2002 10:24:50 AM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
it should be easy enough to refute

Let's see the evidence. [crickets]

31 posted on 08/20/2002 10:25:59 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: PhilipFreneau
My major irritation on this matter is that of the poor selection in this area. Sure, you can look around and eventually find the wine you like, but it's quite often a hassle. There are some that you just can't get because the CT distributors don't carry it. Seems silly that I can't order it online.
32 posted on 08/20/2002 10:27:52 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: Roscoe
Assuming arguendo that racial preferences exist within the liquor industry, is it bigotry to call attention to that fact? (crickets)
33 posted on 08/20/2002 10:28:24 AM PDT by general_re
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To: Roscoe
Rosecoe, do a Google search before you dig you hole any deeper: Try "Jesse Jackson" and "beer distributorship." The brewery is on the hook for this fraud, too, but how are you going to tell me this wasn't a racial shakedown?
34 posted on 08/20/2002 10:28:34 AM PDT by eno_
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To: general_re
>i>Assuming arguendo

Let's see the evidence. [crickets]

35 posted on 08/20/2002 10:29:34 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: general_re
Hence my disclaimer - "assuming it is true". Is it your contention that it is, in fact, not true, or merely that it is not proven to be true?

It is intellectually dishonest to make a qualified assumption and then ask someone to prove it isn't true. It is almost impossible to prove something isn't true.

36 posted on 08/20/2002 10:30:08 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: AppyPappy
It's been a while since it was on the front page, but Jesse Jackson and asscoiates shaking down the breweries is pretty widely known, and one of his most successful scams.
37 posted on 08/20/2002 10:33:12 AM PDT by eno_
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To: AppyPappy
It is intellectually dishonest to make a qualified assumption and then ask someone to prove it isn't true.

Which is why I didn't ask him that. I merely ask if he feels that contentions of racial bigotry are untrue, or if he feels they are simply unproven. I didn't ask him to prove they were untrue, just what his opinion was.

38 posted on 08/20/2002 10:33:53 AM PDT by general_re
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To: Roscoe
Assuming arguendo that racial preferences exist within the liquor industry, is it bigotry to call attention to that fact? (crickets)
39 posted on 08/20/2002 10:34:46 AM PDT by general_re
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To: PhilipFreneau
I drink at least a bottle a week..

Hey, I like that! The next time I get asked how much wine I drink, I'll use it.

Like Robert Mondavi, who's still thriving in his late 70's, my wife and I drink a bottle a day, usually red. Wine is such a fascinating drink and complements food perfectly.

40 posted on 08/20/2002 10:35:46 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
Ever try a red muscadine wine?
41 posted on 08/20/2002 10:42:53 AM PDT by Roscoe
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To: sinkspur
We should turn this into a thread on the "how, where, when, and which" of bargain wines. Any takers?
42 posted on 08/20/2002 10:44:19 AM PDT by johniegrad
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To: eno_
That's not racism, that's just Jesse trying to get over. He has lots of hungry mouths to feed.
43 posted on 08/20/2002 10:44:43 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: johniegrad
sure, as long as we can lure some homebrewers in. I've always been interested in making my own vinho
44 posted on 08/20/2002 10:45:33 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: WindMinstrel
Any discussion is OK with me. I am particularly interested in bargains. Like Sinkspur (not sure I want to openly state the comparison, just kidding), we are generally in the bottle per evening range. It gets expensive after awhile and unfortunately this is one of those hobbies that increases in expense after you practice it a little. Bargain discussions anyone?
45 posted on 08/20/2002 10:47:41 AM PDT by johniegrad
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To: AppyPappy
It is almost impossible to prove something isn't true.

AppyPappy died yesterday morning.

46 posted on 08/20/2002 10:49:00 AM PDT by Old Professer
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To: johniegrad
I'm not a huge wine drinker (well, I'm huge, but not big into wine). I do know that you can get some damned good bottles of wine for <$10. Of course,that's still $300 a month!
47 posted on 08/20/2002 10:53:52 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: Roscoe
Ever try a red muscadine wine?

No. Sounds homemade.

48 posted on 08/20/2002 10:56:21 AM PDT by sinkspur
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To: Old Professer
Prove it.
49 posted on 08/20/2002 10:59:44 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: sinkspur
Never heard of it but it appears to be a Good Ole Boys Varietal
50 posted on 08/20/2002 11:00:46 AM PDT by johniegrad
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