New legislation was introduced this week granting USPS the authority to deliver alcoholic beverages to individuals aged 21 and above.
The ‘United States Postal Service Shipping Equity Act’ (H.R. 3721), sponsored by U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse, R-Wash, aims to rectify the existing prohibition-era regulations that prevent the U.S. Postal Service from shipping alcoholic beverages to residents. This bipartisan bill has garnered support from both sides of the aisle.
Although other courier services such as UPS and FedEx are legally permitted to do so, USPS is currently prohibited from delivering alcohol.
“The time has come for us to shatter these barriers and unlock the tremendous potential of the wine and alcoholic beverage industry,” said Newhouse. “This crucial legislation has the potential to create opportunity for the wine, beer, and spirits landscape, foster economic growth, and empower consumers and businesses alike.”
The proposed bill would enable USPS to deliver alcoholic beverages, provided that the recipient is 21 years of age or older and presents a valid government-issued identification at the time of delivery.
“The outdated prohibition on shipping alcohol through the Postal Service is bad for consumers and bad for small businesses – imposing unnecessary costs and hassle,” added said Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
“I’m proud to partner with Rep. Newhouse on this long-overdue, bipartisan reform to support local brewers, vineyards, and distillers by improving their affordable shipping options and opening up access to new markets.”
Removing Prohibition on USPS Could Allow Small Businesses to Reach More Customers
This legislation would open up new avenues for small wineries, breweries, spirits makers and other related businesses to reach consumers directly who are currently beyond their geographical reach.
Allowing USPS to deliver alcoholic beverages could be good for both independent small businesses with their own websites and for marketplace sellers. eBay (policy) and Amazon both allow third-party sellers to offer alcohol sales, subject to local regulations and marketplace restrictions.
The proposed bill specifically excludes delivery for commercial purposes or resale. If passed, USPS would have to draw up rules for this service to meet the specific regulations and restrictions in the bill.
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