Statement from American Beverage Licensees on Oral Arguments in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair

JANUARY 16, 2019 | BETHESDA, MD – The Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair, today heard well-reasoned oral arguments defending the Constitutional right of states to set alcohol policy, and the unique nature of alcohol as it relates to the Dormant Commerce Clause and 21st Amendment.

In questions throughout the arguments, Justices’ asked informed questions that demonstrated their understanding of the history of alcohol commerce, practical alcohol regulatory policy and other issues addressed in more than a dozen amicus briefs filed on behalf of the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, including ABL’s.

The Court also recognized and cited the “unquestionably legitimate” Three-Tier System, and discussed potentially troublesome implications of adopting remedies suggested by the respondents, including a wave of litigation over state alcohol policy that could undermine the entire alcohol regulatory system.

A decision is expected by the end of the Court’s term in June.



American Beverage Licensees is the preeminent national trade association for beverage alcohol retailers. Direct retail beverage alcohol sales in the United States generate as many as 1.94 million well-paying jobs. ABL’s thousands of on-premise and off-premise licensee members are independent and often family-owned establishments.  The beverage retailing industry pays over $25.3 billion in federal taxes and $18.36 billion in state and local taxes. To learn more about ABL, visit