Arizona Debate Over Internet Alcohol Sales

Reason has an interesting post up, detailing the fight between Arizona’s wineries — who want to be able to sell cases of wine directly over the Internet to anyone in the country — and Arizona alcohol wholesalers, who want the sale of alcohol on the Internet banned altogether.

The real reason Arizona’s alcohol wholesalers are raising a fuss is pretty transparent: they’re the middleman and they don’t want to be cut out. However, they are bringing out two old chestnuts to fight the wineries. They claim that sale of bulk alcohol over the Internet will drive Mom-and-Pop liquor stores out of business. Also, it will allow children to illegally obtain liquor.

We’re frankly skeptical that online liquor sales will put Mom & Pop stores out of business. When you have some friends over for some beers, or have a date that requires a special bottle of wine, you tend not to log-on to the Internet and wait a week for the booze to arrive. This service is clearly aimed at more upscale alcohol purchasers.

As for the tired old “think of the children” trope, Reason makes the point that not many teenagers are interested in buying cases of wine, or have a credit card to do so. This is true, but what if they did? Isn’t it clear that part of the reason young Americans drink so irresponsibly is precisely because of the taboo of consuming alcohol if you are under 21 and that the only way a teenager can drink is outside of the supervision of adults… oftentimes in their cars? Not to go macro on you guys here, but allowing young adults to drink alcohol isn’t the evil: it’s allowing them to drink unsupervised. Like sex, if we were truly thinking of the children, we’d teach them to drink and fuck safely and responsibly — not teach them it was rebellious to do so at all.

Link: Cut It Out, Middlemen