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Personal Page: October 2013

Posted on  | September 26, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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Remember Where You Came From

In a recent study about the most important way to protect the public against excessive consumption and underage drinking, the primary answer (beyond an increase in excise taxes or complete ban) was the responsible distribution of our products.

It was a dramatic reminder of the importance of the three-tier system in building and responsibly serving the market.

As the report points out, before Prohibition, alcohol was virtually unregulated, and social problems due to alcohol were rampant. After Prohibition, alcohol regulation was structured with three levels, to ensure that manufacturers did not control outlets, and that deep discounts and heavy promotion did not foster excess consumption.

Unfortunately, government agencies do not always understand the three-tier system, and legislators are eager to promote business.

When we resist efforts to broaden distribution and sell in grocery stores, drug stores and convenience stores, a cry is raised from “free marketers” that these restrictive policies impede free trade, and are part of the “nanny state.” Please, remember where you came from.

William G. Slone, Chairman

Be careful Where You Are Going

It is a changing world, and we all have to work hard and innovate to keep up. Symbolic of these dramatic changes certainly is the growth of the internet. There are clear opportunities here, which we recognize, but there are also many questions as a result.

At the core of our system is the responsibility the licensee takes on for distribution of our products and what role a third party is entitled to assume in the process.

In April, in response to applications by ShipCompliant who represent Amazon, the Authority stated that they “prohibit relationships in which the licensed entity plays a passive role and/or is subject to no business risk. Now a new model operated by Amazon is pushing the issue further.

I am pleased to see Commissioner Rosen taking this seriously. Allowing marketing companies such as Amazon to expand their scope will significantly disrupt the three-tier system and allow virtually any business to engage in selling beverage alcohol without a license. It will also create an easy path to circumvent SLA regulations, the same regulations which others in our industry have spent a lifetime adhering to. More on this topic on pages 80 and 86.

Jason A. Glasser, CEO

Don’t Fall Back

October means fall is really here and with it a potential change in drinking habits as consumers reach for warming reds and consider darker spirits. Fall also seems to be when our events calendar is fullest; check our online events listings so you always know when they are. “In Good Taste,” our cover feature this month addresses the importance of in-store tastings and the value that they can bring (not to mention added sales and customer engagement). Our cover shoot took place at Corx Wine & Liquors in White Plains.

The American Cancer Society Wine & Spirits Gala is celebrating 36 years of bringing the industry together for a great cause (and to boot this is the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society!). This year’s event will honor Charlie Merinoff and should be a festive and feel-good evening. The New York City Wine & Food Festival will take place October 17th–20th (we hope to see many of you at the Southern Wine & Spirits Trade Tasting presented by Beverage Media on Friday, October 18th). We are already hard at work preparing our Holiday Gift Guide for the November issue, which always helps to jump start the holiday season.

Jody Slone-Spitalnik, COO


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