United States Postal Service Shipping Equity Act

We seem to have become big fans of advocacy and policy change around here and for good reason. There has been a lot of movement in governing bodies to make changes to combat the massive upheavals of the past two years and many alcohol laws are relatively unchanged since prohibition was repealed. The one we’re going to focus on today has actually been in place since before prohibition became the law of the land and it has somehow survived to this day.

Background on Alcohol Shipping Laws in America

The federal ban on shipping alcohol through federally funded services has been in place since 1909, 11 years before prohibition was passed and 24 years before it was repealed. The law prohibits “The Mails” from shipping alcohol and since then no federally funded mail carrier has been allowed to ship your favorite spirits, wine, or beer. The United States Postal Service (USPS) as we know it today was founded in 1971 and has had to deal with this restriction ever since, even while competing carriers can ship alcohol.

This simple change could help USPS become more competitive and gain a share of the Alcohol E-commerce industry which was valued at $24B in 2020. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the change would bring in an additional $50M per year but that’s a small portion of USPS budget shortfall of $9.2B in 2020 alone. Still, every little bit helps and there are two bills that would repeal the ban and allow alcohol to be shipped by the USPS. H.R. 3287 submitted by Rep. Jackie Speier was first introduced in 2013 and has been resubmitted every two years after. S. 1663 submitted by Sen. Jeff Merkley is new senate legislation introduced this year. Both bills are awaiting a vote in their respective committees right now.

See Changes in Alcohol Shipping Laws By Taking Action

Nothing changes without action and if you’d like to see this restriction lifted there are a few things you can do. The most direct action is to write to your congressperson here to let them know you’d like them to support the bill(s). After that be sure to spread the message and let people know what’s going on. Talk to your friends, share this blog post, and let people who aren’t in the industry know what’s going on. This is something that has the potential to impact anyone of the drinking age so it’s not just an industry issue.