The USPS Shipping Equity Act makes it easier for breweries to ship beer. It increases access for consumers. It generates much-needed revenue for the USPS. It’s a win-win-win.
Literally, it’s taken years to get here, but we’re not across the finish line yet. We first reported on the USPS Shipping Equity Act in 2021 (see our previous posts). Yesterday, it was introduced in Congress. If it becomes law, the act would make it easier for breweries to ship beer direct to consumers. It opens up the shipping market to the United States Postal Service, which is currently prohibited from shipping alcohol beverages. It’s kind of a big deal, especially for breweries located in rural areas that are less likely to enjoy easy access to services from private carriers.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Equity Act impacts breweries in Washington and beyond. The bipartisan legislation allows the USPS to ship alcohol beverages in states where it is already legal to do so. Currently, private carriers like FedEx and UPS control the market in the 11 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that already allow the shipping of alcohol beverages direct to consumers.
The USPS Shipping Equity Act levels the playing field by increasing consumer and manufacturer choice while bringing in millions of dollars in much-needed revenue for the USPS. Estimates suggest the USPS could generate $180 million annually.
“This is extremely beneficial to small craft breweries and locally owned wineries, especially in rural regions like Central Washington, who struggle to gain market access,” said Representative Dan Newhouse, who represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. Congress and was one of co-sponsors.
The announcement was applauded by the Brewers Association (BA), the non-profit trade organization that represents the nation’s small, independent breweries.
“Small and independent breweries produce hundreds of styles of beer, but due to distributor consolidation, there are fewer opportunities to get their products to consumers,” said Bob Pease, President and CEO of the Brewers Association. “Direct-to-consumer shipping is a critical way for these businesses to make their low-volume products accessible to the people who want to buy them… The USPS Shipping Equity Act is commonsense legislation that provides those breweries with another way to access the market.”
The Washington Beer Blog will keep an eye on the USPS Shipping Equity Act as it works its way through Congress and hopefully to the Presidents desk. Stay tuned.