I spoke on Thursday to the Bastiat Society chapter in Charlotte with some observations rooted in public choice theory about the “three-tier” system of state liquor regulation familiar since Prohibition. A few further links for those interested in the subject:
- Tom Wark: “Why do wine and beer wholesalers deliver up more campaign contributions than all wineries, distillers, brewers and retailers combined?” (Because of the rents!) The North Carolina microbrewery angle;
- Matt Yglesias at Slate: “How Looser Regulation Gave D.C. Great Specialty Bars“
- AEI held a panel discussion last spring with Brandon Arnold, Jacob Grier (both formerly with the Cato Institute), and Stephen George, moderated by Tim Carney. Video snippets: Jacob on the history of the 3-tier system (2:00); Brandon on homebrewing (0:44). Here’s Jacob discussing the Oregon system at his cocktails-and-policy blog Liquidity Preference, and here’s Brandon on direct-to-consumer Internet sales.
- On “at rest” laws, and the attempted extension to New York: my posts at Cato and Overlawyered, Wark, and recently from CEI’s Michelle Minton on renewed action in New York.
- Oldie-but-goodie David Spiegel, Regulation mag, 1985 (PDF).
In North Carolina, lawmakers seem inclined to favor the big distributors, who as a group are major campaign donors. [NBC Charlotte]
An international brewing company that uses a red-and-orange “#9″ mark on one of its brands is suing Lexington, Ky. craft brewer West Sixth Brewing Co., which uses a black-and-green “6.” “If it was on a coaster, and the person across the table was colorblind and fairly stupid, I suppose there might be some initial confusion. … there might be a problem if somebody is holding their beer upside down.” [Lowering the Bar; Kentucky.com]
“Earls Restaurants will take beer sold under the 25-year-old brand off the menu after a Vancouver woman with albinism filed a BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint against the chain in 2012. The same craft beer will still be sold, but just as ‘Rhino.’” [Emily Jackson, MetroNews, Canada; earlier]
P.S. Frances Zacher at Abnormal Use on other beer-naming controversies.
Not many consumers are likely to confuse the two beers as they taste quite different. Even so: “The two companies have been in a legal battle since 1906. Today, the dispute is being waged through 61 suits in 11 countries.” [AP]
A federal judge has declined jurisdiction of the Oglala Sioux tribe’s lawsuit claiming that liquor sellers just over the Nebraska border are legally answerable for the harms of alcoholism on the reservation. The dismissal is without prejudice to possible refiling of the claims in state court; New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had promoted the cause. [BBC]
P.S. Kristof vs. college sophomore, advantage sophomore [James Taranto, WSJ, fifth item; Robert James Bidinotto] And don’t get us started about his chemophobia.
A Texas appeals court has affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to hold Anheuser-Busch liable for an assault suffered by a bar patron. The suit alleged that the long-neck design of the bottle made it too attractive for assailants seeking a weapon; the court agreed with the brewer that the plaintiff had failed to make out a sufficient case to avoid summary judgment. [Wajert, Mass Tort Defense]
I’ve got a piece out at Reason today in which I de-foam the Times columnist’s highly aerated assertions about beer sales near the Pine Ridge, S.D. Oglala Sioux reservation. And a followup at Cato: Kristof has written about the failures of the Drug War, so why does he not apply those lessons here? See also: NYT “Room for Debate” discussion. A different view: Eric Turkewitz.
A Vancouver, B.C. resident with albinism (lack of skin pigmentation) has directed a complaint to a Canadian human rights tribunal against Earls Albino Rhino beer [Ann Althouse]
“An American Indian tribe sued some of the world’s largest beer makers today, claiming they knowingly contributed to devastating alcohol-related problems on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.” The Oglala Sioux tribe is asking for $500 million. [AP; Lincoln Journal-Star; Don Surber] More: Jacob Sullum, Ted Frank.
A change in state law will allow them to enter competitions, taste-offs and similar away-from-home events. [Oregonian] Earlier here.
In Oregon “all homemade alcoholic beverages must be consumed where they’re made,” so unless the law changes, beer and wine competitions and taste-offs aren’t going to be legal. [KATU]
The California Beer & Beverage Distributors has contributed money to defeat the marijuana-legalization measure, as have police groups. One consideration that might shed light on the latter stance: “Police forces are entitled to keep property seized as part of drug raids and the revenue stream that comes from waging the drug war has become a significant source of support for local law enforcement.” Surprisingly, the politically active prison-guards union has not (yet) thrown its weight onto the “no” side, though prison supervisors have. [Ryan Grim, HuffPo via Tabarrok]
The old ones had to go because broken glass makes too handy a weapon [Lowering the Bar, earlier]