HR 5034 under fire, says California Wine Institute

HR 5034 under fire, says California Wine Institute

California's Senate has backed the state's wine industry in opposing a bill that it says could allow individual US states to discriminate against out-of-state producers.  

Senate support in California, which accounts for the vast majority of US wine production, has been hailed as a significant boost for opponents of the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act. California's Wine Institute said late last week that eight Attourneys General in the US have also voiced their opposition to the bill, which has become better known as simply HR 5034.

The bill is backed by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), and was introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

Its aim, they argue, is to preserve the sanctity of the state legislatures in regulating alcohol.

However, many drinks industry trade bodies, including the Distilled Spirits Council and the Brewers Association, have declared the bill "discriminatory and anti-competitive".

California's Senate said that it supported the state's Wine Institute in opposing HR 5034 "in order to protect and preserve the ability of California wineries, and all wineries in the US, to ship wine directly to consumers without discrimination between in-state and out-of-state wine producers".

The National Association of Manufacturers has added its own voice to the opposition. "We strongly believe passage of HR 5034 would be detrimental to alcohol manufacturing by unfairly discriminating against certain producers, imposing greater operational complexity, increasing costs and imposing duplicative and conflicting regulations that will negatively impact our brewing, distilling and vintner member companies and cost jobs,” said the trade body recently.

For more in-depth consideration of the CARE Act, click here.