LA Senator Proposes Bill To Lower Drinking Age to 19 ... With a Certificate

FILED MARCH 22, 2018

Dear Client:

Louisiana state senator Eric LaFleur, who famously made a dramatic plea for local dairy farmers to sell their their milk locally (you should def check that out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TxjmMnREdQ ), has introduced a bill in the statehouse to allow 19-and 20-year-olds to buy and consume alcohol if they obtain a certificate after passing certain thresholds.

FAKE ID's MAKE CURRENT LAWS A SHAM. "I really believe that 18-year-olds should be able to drink," LaFleur boldly said in an interview with the LA Advertiser. "It just doesn't make any sense for people to be going to bars and getting drinks from older guys and having to patrol and regulate that. It just doesn't work, and everyone knows it doesn't work. So why do we bury our head in the sand and say it works?"

By the way, in younger circles, this move is called the "Hey Mister", and it's a thing.

BRINGING SOCIAL DRINKING OUT OF THE SHADOWS. The Senator said the bill would encourage drinking in public places over drinking in private places, citing additional safety advantages and social pressures to behave more responsibly.

CERTIFYING AND IDENTIFYING DRINKERS. His bill would create a certificate, called the Louisiana Alcohol Consumption Certificate, and would require alcohol education course, covering health risks, absorption rates and laws and penalties regarding alcohol consumption. He said the course would not cost more than $100. Also, the senator said that a certificate holder, if they get a DUI, would face higher penalties, "putting more risk on them."

BBD got on the phone with Senator LaFleur. "I just don't understand why you would want to push young people into into the dark to drink without any societal norms the right kind of and peer pressure when in a legal social setting," he said.

He also stressed that the ultimate bill will require parental consent, which matches up with current Louisiana law which allows minors to drink with the consent of their parents or guardians. This is important…. (see below).

Will the governor sign? "The thing that the governor is concerned about is losing federal highway funds." Obvi. [Recall that under Reagan, the federal government withholds highway funds to states which didn't raise and maintain the legal drinking age to 21, even though the 21st Amendment to the Constitution leaves the regulation of alcohol to the states. This federal highway funds blackmail is, to me, clearly constitutionally illegal. But hey, water under the bridge].

"But if we have parental consent in the bill, which we will, then there's no loss of federal highway funds," he said. Indeed.

A source on the ground in LA say his bill is likely going to get a committee hearing next week. Here is a link to the bill: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1073427

LAST WORD. "If you drink at a house party, you tend to be less responsible," LaFleur said. "It's easier to get an opioid or a bag of weed than it is to get freaking alcohol. It's crazy."

This is very true. But unfortunately for Sen. LaFleur, the economics of the epidemics of opioid and weed use is nascent compared to alcohol, and therefore is not powerful. Abuse becomes a big business, and alcohol has had a 50+ year head start.

The anti-alcohol forces have been organized and well-funded for years and continue to plow through state houses. Which is sad, because kids are dying while activists pour resources into a problem that is decreasing while the others are endemic.

What do you think? Ping me at hs@beernet.com

FOUNDERS TAKES A LAP, PUSHING LIGHT LAGER

In a rare letter to distributors, Founders founders outlined the successes they've experienced in 2017 and the plan for this year.

Their track record is indeed impressive. From their letter:

-We shipped 468,000 barrels, which is an increase of 30% over last year

-We are now the #9 largest brewery in the US as defined by IRI Craft

-We are now the largest brewery in Michigan!

-Our sales in MULOC are up 43.5%, almost eight times the growth rate for the craft segment

-Our total depleted volume is up 34%

-All Day IPA is up 37%

-Centennial IPA is up 52%

-Seasonals are up 82%

-62% of our total volume is now in cans

-We rank #1 in craft can sales both by volume and growth

-All Day IPA is driving a good portion of this incredible growth

-All Day IPA is the #1 craft can by sales and volume, now outselling Blue Moon cans

-All Day IPA 15-packs now account for 54% of all 15 and 18-packs cans sales in the US

-All Day IPA is now the #2 bestselling IPA in the US

-All Day IPA is the #10 brand ranked by sales dollars

-And there is still tons of room for All Day IPA to grow! We have the fastest growing brand in the US with less than half of the CWD our competitors carry

-Our seasonals rank #4 for sales growth and are the #14 seasonal brand in craft

-We command 63% of the 15-pack and larger can business

Driven by 15-packs, Centennial IPA grew 56.3% over 2016

Their sales team has grown to 130.

BUT WHAT ABOUT SOLID GOLD A BUCK A SINGLE? Says Founders, "There is nothing saying America's next greatest brewery can't come from the craft space and we believe a great-tasting, affordable lager like Solid Gold can take us there. We see people trading up from their typical lagers to something better and we want to be the something better. Yes, this could be a huge failure, but it could also be a huge success and we're willing to take that risk. In fact, our brewery was built on risks like this, on pursuing the uncomfortable or unknown. As the industry continues to grow and the markets change, we feel it is important for the larger craft brewers to not compete against one another as our shared effort should be in looking down the aisles at the 85% of consumers who currently don't buy our beer. Considering domestic sales continue to slide, we are all in the perfect position to continue pushing our craft focus and gain our fair share of the pie."

There are many others thinking the same thing. Let the games begin.

WALMART WINS LIQUOR CASE VS. TABC

The retail landscape could get veddy, veddy interesting down in Texas.

Yesterday, a federal judge (the same judge in the crafts brewers' case) struck down a state law that prevents public companies like Walmart from selling spirits in Texas, as previously reported in Wine and Spirits Daily.

As most of you know, Walmart can sell beer and wine in Texas, but selling spirits is a no-go as it is prohibited from owning a package store permit. Previously Texas package stores prevented Walmart and others from selling liquor in Texas due to a residency requirement. That was struck down in Granholm-ian fashion, so the legislature passed a law prohibiting public retail companies from selling liquor. Walmart argues that this ban is irrational because private package store owners are permitted to sell spirits as are publicly traded hotel corporations.

After coming up short in the legislative route, Wal-Mart filed suit against the TABC in 2015, challenging four provisions in the TABC code including:

(1) the ban on public companies from obtaining a package store permit;

(2) the five permit limit;

(3) the consolidation exception to the five-permit limit for family members; and

(4) one that prohibits retailers from holding both a package store permit (to sell all categories) and a permit for wine and beer only.

Here's what you need to know from yesterday's ruling: Judge Pitman has ordered the TABC to cease enforcement on:

(1) the ban on public corporations,


(2) the five permit limit and

(3) the consolidation exception for family members. The fourth challenge leaving the fourth challenged section of the code in tact.

Judge Pitman declared the ban on public corporations violates the Commerce Clause and "imposes a severe burden on interstate commerce." Though the court concedes that the state's interest in reducing the availability and consumption of alcohol is valid, the public corporation ban is not the best way to do it, finding that "this interest can be achieved through alternative means with less impact on interstate commerce," per court documents.

Moreover, the court found that the consolidation exception for family members, or consanguinity exception, violates the Equal Protection Clause, while the five-permit limit is just weak.

However, the case may not be settled just yet. The case has only been decided at the district court level, and we hear the State has committed to appeal the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although, TABC public information officer Chris Porter told WSD that the agency "has not yet reached a decision on whether to appeal the judge's ruling."

Though intervenor Texas Package Store Association (TPSA) does have plans to appeal. "We will appeal the trial court's decision and continue to fight for family-owned liquor store owners against the world's largest corporate entities that seek to inflate their profits by upending sensible state laws that protect both consumers and small businesses," per a statement form TPSA executive director Lance Lively.

WBDT RESPONSE: The Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, are naturally against this ruling. They said in a memo to distributors: "As you know, the Wal-Mart case could have profound impacts on the Texas marketplace in favor of multi-national mega retailers who have long sought to deregulate the alcoholic beverage market. Furthermore, if upheld, the case could embolden similar challenges to other Texas regulations.

"The WBDT will continue to work with all stakeholders to support the State's legal defense of Texas law and will consider filing an Amicus brief asking the Court to consider the extreme effect the ruling will have on the marketplace and to not enforce the ruling in Texas until the appeal has been resolved."

Wait for the appeal, folks.


Until tomorrow,
Harry, Jenn, and Jordan



"Order is the shape upon which beauty depends."
- Pearl Buck



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