ABL Statement on Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholding North Carolina Alcohol Shipping Law

June 1, 2022 – Bethesda, MD – American Beverage Licensees (ABL) issued the following statement in response to an opinion by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding North Carolina’s alcohol shipping law:

“With its ruling today, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals joined the Sixth Circuit, Eight Circuit, and most of the beverage alcohol industry in recognizing the primacy of the 21st Amendment in Constitutional challenges to state alcohol laws.

“The 4th Circuit’s thorough and considered opinion made clear that differences between states’ three-tier systems are acceptable, as is a state’s ‘interest in preserving its three-tier system for alcohol distribution.’

“As the court points out: ‘the Twenty-first Amendment is not an either-or proposition. Rather, it ‘gives each State leeway in choosing the alcohol-related public health and safety measures that its citizens find desirable.’ Put simply, there is no single ‘one size fits all’ three-tier system that a state must either adhere to or abandon entirely.’

“This ruling should encourage state alcohol regulators and attorneys general to respectively enforce and defend legitimate state alcohol laws that advance public health and safety or other legitimate grounds.  It is also another rejection of repeatedly failed and vexatious alcohol shipping litigation that wastes precious public resources.”