TRUTH IS NOT the only thing in wine; there are consumer interests there, too. This Monday marked the launch of a new advocacy group called the American Wine Consumer Coalition, whose mission is all in the name. “In most cases,” claims AWCC Director Tom Wark, “the interests of wineries, wholesalers and retailers coincide with those of consumers.” Yet also in most cases, the consumer’s interests are thwarted by state laws. Your humble blogger was surprised to find no wine in the grocery stores of his new home state of Maryland* (Lobbyists.info’s offices are in Bethesda, Md.), which is precisely the kind of thing AWCC seeks to target. From their new website:
AWCC advocacy and educational efforts seek to put consumers and their key interests on par with the special interests that have for too long ignored the needs of consumers and dismissed consumer input in to the discussion, debate and conversation concerning alcohol regulations and laws.
And specifically on the point of wine in grocery stores:
Bans on wine sales in grocery stores cost consumers time, money and energy….Local economies and local producers of wine are harmed by bans on grocery store sales of wines….Accommodating special interests seeking protection from competition is no justification for the inconvenience, higher prices, decreased selection and damage to the local economies that bans on grocery store wines produce.
Yet bringing consumers to the table is no quick fix. Advocates of the status quo are sure to oppose Mr. Wark’s efforts, which he admits in his interview with the Huffington Post. “If you’re in a state that doesn’t allow wine sales in grocery stores,” said Wark, “then liquor stores are usually against changing that.”
AWCC will nonetheless charge forward with its mission, despite the challenges it faces. Membership is $35, which according to Wark, “is the same as a good bottle of wine.”
*It should bey clarified that Maryland liquor laws vary by locality.