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Virginia - Why are some government alcohol monopoly states?

by David BECK November 18, 2020

Even if Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in a tavern, even if the national anthem of the US - the 'Star-Spangled Banner' - was written to the tune of a drinking song, there are currently 18 government alcohol monopoly states or control states in the U.S.*

Among those states that did not choose to maintain prohibition, some chose to become alcohol monopoly states. That is, to impose government monopolies over the sale of alcohol beverages. The other non-prohibition states chose to follow the traditional American practice of free enterprise regulated by laws.

There are currently 18 government alcohol monopoly states or 'control states' in the U.S. The term 'control state' is popular but misleading. That’s because all states control and regulate the sale of alcohol. Therefore every state is a control state. However, only 18 are government alcohol monopoly states, including the state of Virginia.

We have analyzed red wines listed in the Virginia restaurants.

1. California
2. Cuyo
3. South Australia
4. Oregon
5. Washington

6. Tuscany
7. Rhone
8. Italy IGT
9. Piedmont
10. Virginia

11. Bordeaux
12. Central Valley
13. Burgundy
14. Navarra
15. Veneto

Over one-fourth of the U.S. Population lives in monopoly jurisdictions. Customer choice is limited in monopoly stores, which have no competition. Therefore, they have no incentive to be customer-friendly. However, monopoly officials tend to argue they can restrict drinking, which they believe to be desirable.

So Why Monopoly?

Virginia was the first state to create a monopoly system after Repeal. The Virginia Historical Society explains:

“On 23 February 1934 the speaker of the house signed a bill to create the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“Temperance crusaders were active in Virginia long before the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919. First the General Assembly enacted local-option laws. They allowed voters to decide if their communities would be ‘wet’ or ‘dry.’ The Anti-Saloon League, under the guidance of the Reverend James Cannon, Jr., campaigned long and hard against the evils of drink. Then, a statewide prohibition law, known as the Mapp Act, closed all the saloons in Virginia in 1916. However, it allowed every household to import from outside the state one quart of liquor, three gallons of beer, or one gallon of wine per month. National prohibition followed, and Virginians lost their ‘one quart law.’

“Compulsory abstinence proved unpopular and impossible to enforce. In 1933 Virginians voted to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment repealing prohibition and to devise a plan for liquor control. Governor John Garland Pollard, a loyal prohibitionist, warned ‘Now that prohibition is doomed, the supreme question of the hour is this. What new weapon shall we adopt to combat this age-old evil?’

Excerpt from Regions report. To learn more click here

Source: Wine Analytics

Store-check program 2014 in Virginia restaurants. Top listed wines 750ml.

*Alcohol Problems and Solutions