Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gorillas vs Guerrillas

There has been upheaval and calamity in Washington DC this week over big liquor business and lobby money pushing their anti-DTC (direct to consumer) agenda. (see H.R. 5034)
The country is on the verge of allowing a few large companies to dictate to the American people what alcohol they may buy and eventually this will lead how much they pay for it, how it's marketed and so on. H.R. 5034, is designed to keep small producers from going outside the major distributors and direct to the consumer with the use of the Internet. If passed it would place two major companies key distribution rights for more than 30% of the industry and open the door for them to grow fast, fat and furious to the point of a nation wide monopoly.
Their tactics are one of scare and half-truths but the reality is that these companies have contributed heavily to some career politicians and with Warren Buffet in the game as a major player, (he took an ownership role in a liquor distributor in Georgia), the sky's the limit for control of the industry. Small producers would have to pay in product and price in order for their goods to be sold in many if not all U.S. markets and the guerrilla war would begin in earnest.
Think of it, these companies at the forefront of the bill are trying to control the flow of goods to market through their doors. The Internet channel would be shut down and some micro-brewer in Missouri that has a special Lambic style blueberry ale, which a customer in Boston wants to buy would not be allowed to sell or ship said good for fear of a loss of taxes, and the opportunity the product would end up in the hands of a curious teenager. Not based in any reality, but one could paint the scariest of pictures and provide media fodder for the passage of the bill.
Then what? Well bootlegging would be back and the underground black markets would be on the rise. If a person has to have a favorite brand of wine, beer, spirit, they're going to find a way to get it. Bills like these never keep the youth from drinking, any self respecting teen always finds an opportunity to get what they want. Getting caught may be inevitable, but these laws do not deter, they encourage. As a species we always want what we are told we can not have. That applies to every freedom on Earth. The more someone tries to control us the more we struggle to break away. So with this bill, wineries and breweries and distilleries all over the world would employ guerrilla tactics against the large gorilla companies and the gorilla law makers to get product to the buying public.
The idea that we as a people would find our youth drunk in the street by 10 a.m. because we allow Internet sales direct to the consumer is ridiculous and insults the intelligence of the American citizen. The consideration that DTC paths steal tax revenues from the state and would force the loss of jobs, industry and social programs is laughable. The suggestion that frivolus law suits are tying up our courts because of DTC concerns is an immature position by a big organization acting like a spoiled brat that wants to take their ball from the other players on the playground and go home.
This bill is asking for one thing, control for a few over the many and must be stopped. Please write your state and federal representative and voice your concern. Let them know that control in any form is not the American way. H.R. 5034 is the wrong thing to do. Ask them why they would put the control of so many small businesses in the hands of a few companies. This is communist idealism at its worst.

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