USPS May Begin Delivering Alcoholic Beverages Straight to Your Door!
Introduced on May 17, 2021, the USPS Shipping Equity Act would give the U.S. Postal Service authority to ship alcoholic beverages directly to consumers over the age of 21.
Introduced by Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) along with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), and 17 other House lawmakers, "the USPS Shipping Equity Act would give rural producers access to another option for shipping alcoholic beverages, thereby increasing market access and enabling Central Washington businesses to continue to invest in our communities", according to statement made by Rep. Dan Newhouse. "Currently, the U.S. Postal Service cannot ship beer, wine, or distilled spirits, because of an outdated, Prohibition-era ban. This nonsensical regulation limits shipping options for producers and customers alike, affecting many of Central Washington’s local craft breweries and wineries." Currently, alcohol is only able to be shipped within certain states by FedEx and UPS.
The bill will also allow those who live in rural areas who may not be in the service zone for UPS and FedEx to receive direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments.
Newhouse, Speier and the 17 other lawmakers proposing the bill claim that as the direct-to-consumer market continues to grow, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wineries, breweries and other alcohol producers are at an unfair disadvantage due to limited shipping and delivery options.
Rep. Speier proposes that allowing the USPS to ship alcohol would not only benefit breweries and wineries, but the U.S. Postal Service as well, which is currently in "dire financial condition". The allowance to ship alcohol would establish a new revenue stream for USPS. In a letter to Congress from the National Association of Letter Carriers and several other postal unions and alcohol distributing unions and associations, it is estimated "that the USPS could gain $180 million annually in revenue through the shipping of beverage alcohol where permissible with state and local laws."
The act is endorsed by: the American Postal Workers Union, American Craft Spirits Association, Brewers Association, California State Association of Letter Carriers, Distilled Spirits Council, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Association of Postal Supervisors, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, ReserveBar.com, United Postmasters and Managers of America, and WineAmerica. The USPS Shipping Equity Act would give USPS two years to develop alcohol shipping regulations, such as identification checks, and implement the law. According to Congress.gov, the latest action is that on May 17, 2021 it was, "referred to the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker." No estimation has been provided regarding when this bill is expected to advance.
You can read the bill here.