On Friday, Judge Marsha Pechman released Findings of Fact and Conclusion in the case of Costco v. Hoen. In a landmark ruling for the future of the three tier system, the Court found that the Washington state-mandated wholesaler monopoly was not shielded by the 21st Amendment and was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
After the dust settles, this will likely create a ripple effect not unlike the the Granholm v. Heald ruling of 2005. For now, Judge Pechman stayed the judgement for the 30 days to give the defendants time to appeal.
We’ll have much more to say about this in the coming days and weeks.
It will be interesting to see if any wine wholesalers issue any sort of statement. It will be even more interesting if the reactionary national association for wholesalers, Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association (WSWA), releases a statement. I can see it now:
“we are disappointed that the judge did not respect the clear message of the 21st Amendment and blah blah blah blah…”
Wouldn’t it be nice if the WSWA instead issued a statement that made sense and was honest:
“Our rationale for trying to restrict sales and deprive consumers of choice in the realm of wine has been exploded in a perfectly reasonable ruling by the judge. We have no leg to stand on now and will work closely with state legislatures across the country to liberalize wine sales with the hope that consumers will now be able to obtain the wines they want unfettered by our desire to maintain a state-sponsored monopoly.”