Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) and 12 original co-sponsors today introduced H.R. 2517, the USPS Shipping Equity Act. This bipartisan bill would end the Prohibition-era ban that prevents the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from shipping alcoholic beverages to consumers.
“In 2016, California was America’s top destination for the direct shipment of wine, yet consumers and manufacturers are prohibited from using the U.S. Postal Service to ship or deliver these everyday products. In most states, private carriers such as FedEx and UPS are already delivering alcoholic beverages. It makes no sense to create a competitive disadvantage for the USPS by barring them from these kinds of shipments, especially given the Postal Service’s dire financial condition,” Rep. Speier said. “Congress needs to lift this ban for the benefit of beverage manufacturers, consumers, and our struggling postal service.”
The bipartisan USPS Shipping Equity Act would allow USPS to ship alcoholic beverages directly from licensed producers and retailers to consumers over the age of 21, in accordance with state and local shipping regulations.
As the market for direct-to-consumer shipping continues to soar, reaching $3 billion last year, wineries, breweries, and other producers are confined by limited shipping options. The USPS Shipping Equity Act would level the alcohol-shipping playing field and establish a new source of revenue for USPS. This bill would bring in tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for the Postal Service in the coming years.
This bill will also expand access to consumers for direct-to-consumer shipments. While USPS ships to every household in the nation, private carriers do not, especially in many rural areas. Right now, there are Americans who do not have access to direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments, though they may be legal under their state’s law, because only the Postal Service delivers packages to their door. The current ban is unfair to these consumers.
Rep. Speier’s bill is endorsed by the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the United Postmasters and Managers of America, the National Association of Postal Supervisors, WineAmerica, the Wine Institute, the American Craft Spirits Association, the United States Association of Cider Makers, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, and the Distilled Spirits Council.