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     It is hard to believe that I am writing this article less than two weeks before Christmas while getting news that just 10 days before Christmas that our Legislature is making a Lame Duck push for Direct Shipping.    Needless to say, if this deal goes down then basically everyone connected to our industry will walk away losers, including our own in-State wineries.   In addition to our wineries, our wholesalers,  our retailers and all of our industry employees, even our taxpayers and our consumers will lose, which means that the only winners will be the special interest lobbyists and the West Coast wineries who hired them. 

     If the Direct Shipping legislation passes, I will expect that our newspapers will spin that passage as a victory for free trade and consumer trends, but the irony of those headlines will be laced with the destabilization of one of the most efficient alcohol industry marketplaces in our country.   It is disturbing to think that in a State that has the highest property taxes in our nation, backed by the highest unemployment rate in our region, anyone would applaud the passage of legislation that would only lead to more of the same.  But then again, this is Jersey, ranked #1 in political satire and State based reality show ratings.  

     Unfortunately, just about everyone old enough to drink in Jersey knows why so many late night TV hosts,  comedians and even political commentators consider Jersey politics to be the a punch line for just about anything and everything that has to do with the phrase “down and dirty”.   Fortunately, we have a Governor, who is working tirelessly to clean up our national image and political public relations.  It is also possible that our Governor will have some serious reservations about signing this legislation, but it is too soon to know what he will do when this legislation is put in front of him. 

     But it gets better (sarcasm).  After reacting to a Direct Shipping slap in the face for Christmas, it is more than likely that our Happy New Years gift from Trenton will involve turning the other cheek to defend another slap from a new Two-License challenge.  Just imagine, we have the highest taxes in our country, highest unemployment rate in our region and we have key members of our legislature who have determined that the best way to help the City of Camden, which has the 2nd highest serious crime rate in our country, is to use a liquor license as bait to lure a grocery store chain into that city?     

     Why? -- In the worse economy since the Great Depression, when state based small businesses are struggling and working so hard to survive, would “any” legislator STEP ON THEM?  Why?  At the most critical retailing time of the year for all of us to be focusing on our livelihoods would “any” legislator decide it is the time to push legislation that would clearly hurt State based small businesses that are a viable part of the local economies that they are located in?  And finally, why would “any” legislator make an accommodation to an out-of-state agenda directed at helping one particular industry (grocery) at the clear detriment of another (alcohol)???  Well that is exactly what has happened with the direct shipping legislation and it is crystal clear that the new legislature will be pushing the two-license challenge next! 

     In the end, the “ONE STOP SHOPPING” strategy that has been used by the NJ Food Council to support their two-license challenge will be used against them by the scorch earth policy of the mega box retailers like WALMART and TARGET that will stop at nothing now that WEGMANS has flushed out some key leadership support in the new legislature.  S1904 and A2591 will unquestionably hurt our State based small business owners, which will lead to hundreds of State based small business failures and longer unemployment lines, while dramatically increasing the accessibility of alcoholic beverages to the tens of thousands of teenagers that are employed in part time jobs at our grocery stores.    Again, everyone loses but the out-of-state crusaders!

     We will “all” have to do whatever we can to hold the line we have already drawn around the Statehouse, but that will require everyone in our industry to step up and lock arms in a show of solidarity if we are going to stand a chance at fending off this out-of-state assault on our livelihoods.  If you care about the future of your business, NOW IS THE TIME to support the NJLSA.  Your contributions will be needed to FIGHT THE UPCOMING TWO-LICENSE CHALLENGE.   I know that there are still many of you on the sidelines that feel that your voice and your money will not make a difference, but IF YOU ARE “NOT” A MEMBER OF THE  NJLSA, PLEASE FILL OUT THE APPLICATION ON THE OPPOSITE PAGE AND SEND IT IN WITH YOUR DUES!

All of the Trustees as well as the Board of Directors of the NJLSA send our
Best Wishes to all our members and friends for a Healthy and Happy New Year!!!


Make the Effort to Get Connected
to Your Industry.

There have been several legislative bills introduced that would all have a severe impact on our industry and livelihoods. The bottom line is that key members of the leadership of our legislature have set their sights on our industry and it pretty much looks like they would like to hand our state based industry over to the out-of-state free trade crusaders whose extreme capitalistic ideology was directly responsible for the collapse of our nationís economy just a few years ago. You would think we would have learned a lesson. If you care about the future of your business, itís time to support your industry. HELP FIGHT THE TWO-LICENSE CHALLENGE. Join the NJLSA today!!!

NJLSA Alcohol Industry Friends & Affiliates