Mail Alcohol through the USPS? The Postal Service Needs to Modernize.

Why can’t sellers mail alcohol to their customers through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)?

               Overview

I.   Why Not Mail Alcohol?

II.  Postal Service

III. That Might Change

IV.  Benefits

V.   Resources

I. Why Not Mail Alcohol?

It isn’t possible to mail alcohol. The USPS cannot deliver alcohol through the mail. But FedEx, UPS, and other private carriers will deliver beer, wine, and spirits. This inconveniences customers. It also harms the USPS.

The restriction seems to result from anti-alcohol sentiment. It’s continued long after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Indeed, almost one of every five adults in the US today favors prohibiting drinking by anyone of any age. And there’s a very strong neo-prohibitionist movement that opposes home delivery of alcoholic beverages.

This is in spite of the clear failures of Prohibition. Not only did it not stop drinking, it created many serious problems.   

II. Postal Service

The Postal Service seems frozen in time. And it’s a time long past. The internet and e-mail have changed the world forever. The USPS must change with the times. If not, it will continue to lose money. 

That makes it an ever greater burden on taxpayers. They must subsidize more and more a “service” that serves them less and less.

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The U.S. Postal Service is no longer called the Post Office. But it’s still operating many decades behind the times. It continues to loose billions of dollars. Yet it is forced to reject a good source of much-needed income.

III. That Might Change

Representatives Jackie Speier and Dan Newhouse and 17 other House co-sponsors have introduced the USPS Shipping Equity Act. It would permit the Postal Service to ship alcoholic beverages to consumers age 21 and over. 

The proposed law would not effect state bans on alcohol shipments. They would remain in effect.

IV. Benefits

Being able to mail alcohol would benefit the US Postal Service, alcoholic beverage producers, and consumers.

Twelve unions support the bill. They include the American Postal Workers Union and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.

Chris Swonger is president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council. He points out that “This legislation will benefit adult consumers while helping the U.S. Postal Service, with its more than 600,000 employees, generate much-needed revenue.”  He added that the Postal Service “must be able to evolve with the changing marketplace.”

V.   Resources

Source: Legislation to end theban on the Postal Service shipping alcohol, AIM Digest, 2021, 57(2), 29.

USPS Shipping Restrictions

Alcohol on Postage Stamps: Beer, Wine, & Spirits