Alcohol Regulation Roundup: Friday The 13th Edition

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Remember: raise your glasses with extra care this evening.

Connecticut: In a continued effort to remain competitive with alcohol sales in surrounding states, Connecticut’s Competitive Alcohol Liquor Pricing Task Force is planning to come up with recommendations for the General Assembly — one of which will likely address the state’s price-fixing scheme, which prevents liquor stores from offering discounts.

District of Columbia: Though Councilman Graham’s omnibus alcohol reform package clearly identifies some of the major issues facing the District’s booze-biz, many are calling his solutions ineffective at best. For example, the law that allows a group of five citizens to thwart liquor license holders is addressed in the package, but the only change Graham proposes is to require the five members to live within 400 feet of the offending establishment instead of the current 600 feet. For those following the plight of Hank’s Oyster Bar, you’ll note that this solution would not help the owners from this quintet of terror.

Additionally, the bill addresses the growler sales in the District. The good news is that the bill would open up growler sales to large, full-service grocery stores. The bad news is that it does not afford the same privilege to all retailers of beer. This kind of favoritism ultimately hurts the city’s economy by giving an unfair advantage to one type of retailer over another. He ought to open up growler sales to all licensed beer retailers.

Idaho: The privatization bill failed to get enough signatures to make it onto November’s ballot, but supporters are optimistic about 2013.

Missouri: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon thankfully vetoed a liquor bill that would have tied alcohol producers to their distributors by putting their contract under “franchise protection.” Had it passed, the new law would have made it more difficult for producers (like wineries and breweries) to get out of contracts with their distributors. Franchise laws are almost universally bad and are used to limit competition in the market. After all, if you can’t be fired in favor of a competitor, what motivation would you have to perform more competently or offer better rates?