As U.S. Postal Service Sinks Into Irrelevance, It Seeks Hope In the Bottom Of A Bottle

Like too many once-great leaders who have been knocked from their pedestals by the disruptive forces of time and progress, the U.S. Postal Service is turning to wine and spirits while trying to hold on to the belief that it still has a future in the world that has outgrown it.

For more than 100 years, shipping wine via the USPS has been a no-no, with that work left to private freight handlers and couriers. But now, staring in the mirror while wondering how it sank this far so quickly, the Postal Service is reportedly looking to get back into the booze biz.

Writing for Today.com, wine critic Edward Deitch says the USPS is looking at all the money FedEx and UPS have made shipping the wine it could not and hoping that lawmakers in DC will pass the Postal Reform Act of 2013, which would once again give the USPS the ability to deliver beer, wine, and liquor in areas where state and local laws also allow for it.

USPS hopes these clinking bottles can add up to $50 million a year for it, but that would only cover about 1/100th of the $5 billion deficit the Service ran up in the last fiscal year.

Even Sen. Tom Carper from Delaware, who introduced the Act admits that opening the USPS mail bags to booze “is not a silver bullet, but what I like to call a silver BB… And what the Postal Service needs is a lot of these.”

Wine companies would be able to cash in on presumably lower shipping rates from USPS, but they would also be giving up a lot of the accountability and customer-facing service provided by better-funded shippers like FedEx and UPS.