WSWA Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair

Jun 26, 2019

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) released the following statement from its President and CEO Michelle Korsmo on today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair.


“For more than eight decades, states have had the power under the Twenty-first Amendment to enact laws governing beverage alcohol that benefit and protect their citizens. This model regulatory structure has created a thriving marketplace for the beverage alcohol industry that promotes social responsibility in America.”


“Although WSWA disagrees with the outcome of today’s Supreme Court ruling, we agree with the Court that the promotion of public health and safety is a primary function of alcohol regulation, with the three-tier system being paramount to the creation of the safest alcohol market in the world. America’s system of beverage alcohol regulation continues to be a global standard – offering consumers unparalleled safety and selection, ensuring cost-effective and efficient tax collection, guarding against counterfeit alcohol and illegal markets, fostering competition, and promoting social responsibility.”


“The decision of the Supreme Court to strike down Tennessee’s right to enforce durational residency laws for licensees erodes the Twenty-first Amendment and primary state authority. Since alcohol is unlike any other consumer good, the Twenty-first amendment was enacted to give states authority to regulate alcohol as they see fit and that authority remains broad. In exercising that authority, states have enacted the three-tier system to promote accountability, public safety, and economic competition. The vast majority of state alcohol laws are not impacted by this ruling.”


Click here to view WSWA’s amicus brief filed in support of the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association


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. Visit to learn more.