ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry

A New Supreme Court Case May Impact the Future of Spirits Direct Shipping

By and on December 10, 2018

In late September 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari (i.e. the Court agreed to hear a case) brought before the Court by the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association (Tennessee Retailers) in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Byrd. The petition requested that the Court review the lower court’s decision upholding a finding that Tennessee’s two-year residency requirement for retail license applicants is unconstitutional. Specifically, the question Tennessee Retailers posed to the Court is whether the 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives states that authority to, consistent with the so-called “dormant” Commerce Clause of the Constitution, regulate sales of alcohol beverages by imposing residency requirements on retail (or wholesale) license applicants.

In this article, Mar Sorini and Bethany Hatef discuss the legal background of the dormant Commerce Clause, as well as the Byrd case. Particularly, they examined the Sixth Circuit’s opinion in February 2018 which affirmed the district court decision that invalidated Tennessee’s residency requirements, held that “a three-tier system can still function” without the two-year durational residency restriction imposed by the state. This article examines the potential impacts of Byrd, and how the Supreme Court’s review will address the constitutional validity of the Tennessee law imposing residency requirements on retail alcohol beverage license applicants.

Access the full article.

Originally published in Artisan Spirit: Winter 2018.

Bethany HatefBethany Hatef
    Bethany (Beth) K. Hatef advises clients on a wide variety of regulatory and distribution issues in the alcohol beverage industry. Beth regularly counsels alcohol industry clients on federal and state requirements relating to the production, marketing, distribution and sale of beer, wine and spirits. Read Beth Hatef's full bio.


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