1850 Cowperthwait – Mitchell Map of IndianaSince Granholm v. Heald, we’ve seen a piecemeal erosion of state imposed restrictions on the interstate shipment of wine that hasn’t really found its way to an express inclusion of beer an liquor. People should be excited about these cases. Not just because they’re changing the way individuals have access to a new, freer, market for alcohol, but also because they’re consistently decided on grounds that represent a tour de force in Constitutional law pitting citizens utilizing the commerce clause or the supremacy clause against some state restriction grounded in the state’s rights under the 21st Amendment.
In one of these cases, the 7th Circuit recently found against Indiana wine retailers who wanted to ship directly to in-state customers in violation of an Indiana law stating that retailers needed to deliver the product themselves and couldn’t use a third-party carrier:
IC 7.1-3-10-7 Scope of permit
Sec. 7. … (c) A liquor dealer may deliver liquor only in permissible containers to a customer’s residence or office in a quantity that does not exceed twelve (12) quarts at any one (1) time. However, a liquor dealer who is licensed under IC 7.1-3-10-4 may deliver liquor in permissible containers to a customer’s residence, office, or designated location. This delivery may only be performed by the permit holder or an employee who holds an employee permit. The permit holder shall maintain a written record of each delivery for at least one (1) year that shows the customer’s name, location of delivery, and quantity sold.
The case, Lebamoff Enterprises, Inc. v. The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, upholds a district court ruling and finds that the proscription against retailers using third-party carriers is valid because the regulation on the delivery of alcohol and the regulations Indiana put in place regarding that delivery represent a strong state interest in alcohol policy that falls within the state’s 21st Amendment powers