Indiana‘s wineries want the ability to sell their product in restaurants and stores in their neighborhood. They are likely to run into opposition from liquor wholesalers who often control the types of beverages you can buy.
A legislative summer study committee heard testimony from winery owners on a bill that passed the House this year, but stalled in the Senate before being assigned to the study committee.
It would allow wineries to avoid going through the wholesale and distributor networks and sell a small amount of their products themselves, something that was outlawed in 2006.
“There would be gallon distribution limits, and it would allow wineries to self-distribute to, say a restaurant or a local store in their own communities,” said Dr. Larry Pampel, president of the Indiana Winery and Vineyard Association. Prior to 2006, wineries could not only distribute their wines themselves, they could ship them anywhere in the country.
The Legislature put a stop to that, ostensibly to make it more difficult for underage drinkers to buy alcohol. Pampel points out that no one wants to sell to anyone under 21, and says this bill would not allow wineries to ship.
Distributors and wholesalers often won‘t purchase wine from small, in-state wineries for re-sale at grocery and convenience stores. They claim they can‘t make any money off them because local wineries don‘t make enough wine.
Other states allow self-distribution from in-state wineries, but in Indiana, they are likely to run into the argument that is also made by liquor store owners fighting the sale of cold beer in grocery and convenience stores – the supposed increased likelihood that those under 21 will be able to buy booze.