Supreme Court Hearing Demonstrates Support for Three-Tier System and 21st Amendment

Jan 16, 2019
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) President and CEO Michelle Korsmo released the following statement regarding arguments presented today in the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair case at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Today’s session demonstrated that there are numerous principles governing alcohol regulation that are unanimously supported. The unquestionable legitimacy of the three-tier system was noted by several Justices, as well as counsel for petitioner and respondent.


“The Justices also acknowledged that states have regulatory authority under the 21st Amendment that goes beyond the authority states have over other products. As WSWA has long advocated, the intention for a unique regulatory structure for beverage alcohol is each state’s authority to ensure a responsible marketplace with health and safety benefits for consumers and non-consumers alike.


“Significant to the case is the position of Attorneys General from the District of Columbia, Illinois, Texas, New York, and 32 other states, who argue that the authority to establish durational residency requirements is legitimate under the 21st Amendment.”


Several members of the WSWA leadership were in the courtroom for today’s arguments.


To read a copy of WSWA's Amicus Brief, click here. To read a transcript of the oral argument, click here.


WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesalers, distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 370 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the U.S.