Direct to Consumers

By: Anna Wagnild
By: Anna Wagnild

A Supreme Court ruling that allows wineries to ship their products directly to consumers out of state could affect how other alcoholic beverages are sold.

It could have a negative impact on wholesale distributors, and it raises concerns about alcohol access for minors.

Currently, state laws regulate alcohol sales.

Wisconsin has a three tier system in which manufacturers send their product to distributors who then deliver to retailers. If beverages are shipped directly to retailers or individuals, wholesalers fear they could lose business. One area distributor says the whole process might not be as regulated.

"We're used as a buffer to do the regulations, basically with the insurance that the state will receive their tax dollars based on alcohol excise tax plus state taxes with is key," says Dave Boisvert, a distributor for M&L Brands in Eau Claire.

Officials in some states have hinted that its possible Internet alcohol sales would likely be banned altogether, at least until issues about taxes and teenage access can be resolved.

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