The fight to legalize beer mail

Craft Beer & Brewing defines “beer mail” as:

Beer mail is actually not mail at all since it’s illegal to ship alcohol via USPS (and craft-beer lovers always obey the laws). It is, however, a shipment of beer sent from one craft-beer lover to another. When one receives beer mail, it is often an event
eliciting social media status updates such as “Unexpected beer mail arrived today from @phacebook . . . taking the afternoon off to gawk at my new haul of whales. #whalezbro #craftbeer #beermail.”

That’s right, it is currently illegal to send beer via the United States Postal Service. Whether it is two craft beer lovers trading beers, or a homebrewer sending their beer to someone who lives far away or sending them to a competition.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proposing legislation to legalize beer mail:


Ever want to send wine, beer, and liquor through the mail? I’m introducing a bill that would allow the U.S. Postal…

Posted by Congresswoman Jackie Speier on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The last thing I want to do is veer my homebrewing and beer blog into politics. My feelings on politics are that it is actually the world’s second oldest profession and it bears a striking similarity to the first. To me this is common-sense legislation both major parties should be able to get behind. If the Republicans are the party of small government that they claim to be they should support removing unnecessary government regulation. If the Democrats are the party that protects the “little guy” against big business this bill is a chance to stand up to the big distributors who might oppose this legislation. Anyone who can count realizes the postal service needs every penny of revenue they can get.

Here is a letter I have sent to my congressman Seth Moulton:

Dear Congressman Moulton,

I hope you will support Rep. Jackie Spier’s (CA12-D) legislation to legalize sending beer, wine, and liquor via US Mail. There is a thriving community of beer lovers who trade craft beer with beer lovers in other states. Homebrewers would also love to be able to send their homemade beer and wine to friends and family who live far away via US Mail. Currently it is illegal to send “beer mail” via US Mail. Instead of that revenue going to the perennially cash-poor USPS, it goes to private carriers.

This legislation would be good for our district and the commonwealth. We are fortunate to have excellent craft brewers, vinters, and distillers in our district and in Massachusetts that are highly sought-after. If it is easier for their products to be shipped, even if only on a small scale like beer trading, it will greatly benefit these local small-businesses.

Thank you!

I am not holding my breath waiting for beer mail to be legalized, but at least people in a position to change things are talking about it. Even if this bill doesn’t pass now, the longer the conversation continues the better chance there is of the bill passing someday.

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