US: SWRA backs suit against Texas wine shipping laws
The Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) has declared its support for a lawsuit that has challenged Texas state law prohibiting consumers from purchasing and receiving wine directly from out-of-state retailers.
The suit has been brought in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas by a group of independent wine retailers against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Lesley Berglund, president of the SWRA, said: "It is the right of every wine consumer to have greater choice and access to wines across America, regardless of whether they're purchasing from a winery or retailer.
"We support this lawsuit filed by Kirkland & Ellis that challenges Texas' unfair laws and look forward to helping consumers access the wines they prefer from retailers of their choice across the country."
The retailers involved include Wine Country Gift Baskets.com, K&L Wine Merchants, Beverages & More, David Tapp, Ronald Parrish, and Jeffry Davis.
"A great state has done a real wrong, by engaging in an archaic form of economic protectionism that plainly violates the constitutional rights of citizens," said James Shannon, partner of Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm representing the retailers. "As the US Supreme Court made clear in its recent Granholm v Heald decision, the Commerce Clause requires that out-of-state wine retailers be treated the same as in-state wine retailers.
"Rather than abide by the US Constitution, however, Texas apparently has decided to favour the interests of its powerful liquor lobby, by seeking to prevent out-of-state wine retailers from delivering wines directly to Texas consumers. That unconstitutional decision also punishes Texas consumers, who are made to pay more for wine and have a lesser selection of it."
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