Ask Sid: US Supreme Court Recent Decision on Alcohol Regulation?

July 3rd, 2019
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supreme court tennessee liquor wine decision

Question: What is the latest SCOTUS decision on wine that people are talking about?

Answer: On June 26 the United States Supreme Court by a majority decision 7-2 delivered by Justice Alito decided Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association vs. Russell F. Thomas against two year residency requirements for liquor retailers in Tennessee. Reference was made to the US Constitution “Commerce Clause” and the extent of the protection for producers but also for retailers seeking to do out-of-state shipments There was also clarification (or confusion depending on your point of view) on the continuing important issues for individual states (and hopefully some dicta guidance for provinces in Canada) on their restrictive liquor regulations. Particularly retailers trying to do more out-of-state direct shipping. The US has a three-tier distribution system that further complicates the issues. Interesting dissent comments by Justice Gorsuch. Obviously more litigation to come. Good brief overview of the case in Wine Spectator here.

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July 3rd, 2019

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