Thursday, January 25, 2018

AG protects us from wine

Attorney Generalissimo and Lord Protector Jim Hood issued the following statement.


AG, Revenue Offices File Suit Over Illegal Wine Shipments

JACKSON—The Office of the Attorney General and the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Division of the Department of Revenue filed a complaint last month against six wine companies after finding that the companies were illegally shipping wine into the state, including to underage Mississippians and dry counties.

In Mississippi, alcohol shipments to an individual or business are illegal if the purchase is not made directly through the ABC. The complaint, which was filed in Rankin County Chancery Court, seeks injunctive relief against the following wine merchants: Wine Express, Inc. of Mt. Kisco, New York; The California Wine Club, of Ventura, California; Gold Medal Wine Club of Santa Barbara, California; and Bottle Deals Inc. of Syosset, New York.

During the course of the investigation by the AGO and DOR, agents attempted to make online purchases of wine from 63 vendors. Of those vendors, 22 of them (35%) sold and subsequently shipped products into Mississippi. The primary concern of those purchases were the ones made in the name of an underage person or delivered to a home without an individual over the age of 21 being there at the time of delivery.

Further, purchases were made and delivered to locations within dry counties; areas where the people chose to not allow the sale or possession of alcoholic beverages in their community. There are currently 36 counties dry for alcoholic beverages with an additional 4 counties which have one of their two districts being dry.

In addition to these concerns, there is a revenue loss to the state of approximately $6 lost on every $25 bottle of wine. This revenue, if collected, would be used to fund services for the benefit of all citizens of Mississippi. If the injunction is granted, the companies would be required to train and educate their employees on liquor shipment laws in Mississippi and would also be required to place disclaimers in any advertisements placed in Mississippi to clarify such shipments are not available in the state.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and Attorney General’s Office are continuing this investigation, which will include a review of the records of the commercial shipping companies who delivered alcohol in this state. Additional suits may be filed for the deliveries that took place outside Rankin County.

###

Federal law (27 U.S.C.§122) prohibits the shipment of intoxicating liquor from one state to another if it violates the laws of the destination state; therefore, direct shipment of wine is governed by Mississippi Law which does not allow for the shipment of alcoholic beverages from outside the state to any business or individual. Alcoholic beverages may only be imported to the Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Kingfish note: Meanwhile, check out JJ's coverage of the Gold Coast of Rankin County.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is why we can't have anything nice. If I want to purchase from a wine club, that's my business. Go to HELL ABC!

Anonymous said...

Well......rats. I was looking forward to having that case of wine delivered to my front door.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country so it makes sense they try to nickel and dime anyone and everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hasn’t someone in the Legislature been working on this? Pass it now!

Anonymous said...

He's only enforcing the laws on the books, if you don't like them, convince Tater,Phil and Feel to change them.,.

Anonymous said...

"During the course of the investigation by the AGO and DOR, agents attempted to make online purchases of wine from 63 vendors. Of those vendors, 22 of them (35%) sold and subsequently shipped products into Mississippi."


Sounds like the AGO and DOR threw one heck of a New Year's Eve Party.

Anonymous said...

We keep pretending to be a southern baptist theocracy. On Sundays and on the surface every other day.

Interesting how the legislature can have barrels of whiskey inside the building but I can't order a good bottle of wine.

Anonymous said...

Wineries have been trying to get those laws changed for some time now, only to be thwarted by the lobbyists for the ABC and the liquor stores. Past time for that to change, but, money talks. $6 for each $25 bottle of wine goes to the State? No THAT'S criminal!

Anonymous said...

The evil alkehawl will lead to the ruin of our society!

Anonymous said...

@ 1:30 is right. Herbie is no dummy. He's working the system. That's why he's better than Ed Morgan.

Anonymous said...

Its a crooked business. In fact many businesses in Mississippi are crooked when you think how the legislature stays in the pockets of the lobbyists for the middle men.

Who is being protected by forcing a local brewery to sell through a distributor? Not the consumer. The distributor. There are industries propped up all over this state and ironically, they do it by buying hundreds of drinks for the legislators through their "associations".

Fifty Forever!

Anonymous said...

Our adjoining Southern States...TN, ARk, LA, Fla..all have such progressive laws which leave us in the 1950's.

Imagine going into Liquor Store the size of a Kroger.... with Craft Beers, a Cigar Bar,
ESPN, Wine Tasting, a Restaurant...... that is the normal way of business in those states.

We are just being left in the dust with our leadership.....they absolutely have no idea or
clue as to what is happening all around us. And to think the DOR kills in-state wine
deliveries....that is why we are #50!

Louis LeFleur said...

Pending House Bill 98 would authorize direct sales and shipments of wine to state residents. Bill authorized by rep. Charles Busby (R-Pascagoula).

Plain ol' Catfish said...

The mom & pop liquor stores hold a lot of power when it comes to the distribution of spirits in this state. ABC keeps the cost at level prices for them. So they don't have any complaints.

But as consumers, we pay hefty prices for beer, liquor, and wine.

Its kind of ironic how the Republican supermajority talks about removing government from setting the market when the state is the licensed bootlegger for all the wet counties in Mississippi.

Its high time ABC is dissolved, which is eliminating a government entity since they want to shrink government and let the liquor market set itself and compete. Online sellers can have Mississippi residents pay Mississippi sales taxes on online purchases so revenues are not lost.

The consumers, who should be the most important to the legislature, will reap the benefits and revenues levels will not change when it comes to liquor sales.

Anonymous said...

It's called entrapment, and it's a valid legal defense.

Anonymous said...

Will Hood go after the individuals who have purchased wine this way?...asking for a friend.

Anonymous said...

Stuck on Stupid! Will we ever have forward thinking leaders? The "tax issue" is used to fit the argument of the day. Taxes on online sales are collected everyday by States all over the country. ABC is an antiquated system very well protected. Isn't it nice to have someone deciding for us which bottle of wine or bourbon we can taste!

Anonymous said...

If the legislature goes full in on an internet tax, then their argument for prohibiting online sales should go out the door, so long as the buyer can authenticate they are 21. The wineries have to be able to deal with that in other states.

Anonymous said...

How much in personnel time and money did GENERAL Hood spend to expose these 22 wineries? With all of this excess AG personnel, no wonder the state is broke. Why not deal with the problems, not the publicity. How about looking in depth at Canton Municipal Utilities etc. where there are avenues to recover meaningful dollars and expose REAL crooks.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to guess at what this "investigation" cost in total? All those gov't salaries and pensions woring hard to keep the citizens safe from bottles of wine arriving in the mail!

Wonder if these wineries in CA, etc had any idea that a US state actually exists that has laws prohibiting receiving bottles of wine in the mail.

Why does anyone choose to live there???

Anonymous said...

Give it 20 or so years. All you’ll have left are the religious zealots and the gangs they run from. It’s kinda that way now, but it will get worse.

With the internet being accessible to pretty much anyone, people want change-real change. Fact is, Mississippi is so stuck on shooting itself in the foot, people are looking for valid reasons to move, especially when it comes to better job opportunities. What quality of life used to be here has either been sued into the ground or legislated away.

It’s not giving up-it’s knowing when you’ve had enough. Cutting corporate taxes isn’t going to cut it either. The old regime that benefits off of systems such as the ABC will regret standing in the way of progress, and finding ways to make life harder like the “opioid” regs.

Doing your best to knock others down just to stay in power or make yourself feel better is a recipie for assured disaster— and that’s what goes on.

Anonymous said...

One reason, just one lousy reason that we need ABC to warehouse liquor? There are none, yet these yo-yos in the legislature claim to be focused on efficiency in government. You don't need to warehouse liquor to collect taxes on it.

Triumph the insult comic dog said...

The ABC is a great agency

For me to POOP on!

Anonymous said...

DOR is a worthless bunch of bags

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Northern CA -

I grew up in Jackson. At one point I tried to mail some wine back home to friends/family. Was told it is illegal. Shook my head, again thanked myself for having sense enough to leave that place.

Not that I'm bashing MS - it has some great things and esp. people. But the political "leadership" is an absolute embarrassment. Case in point, it's still apparently trying to enforce alcohol prohibition. Recall the 1920s-era warning: whatever you do, don't leave grape juice out on the counter a few days - it might turn into an illegal substance!

Ah well. Good luck with that. All of it. . .

Anonymous said...

Received monthly shipments from the California Wine Club for over ten years with no issues. Shipments came in a plain cardboard box without markings. Only canceled because, over time, around 1/4 of the wines they sent were plonk.

Section 2 of the 21st Amendnent allowing states to piss on the Commerce Clause is something that needs to be addressed. Would allow alcohol to be treated like any other legal product and would end the insanity of folks like Theo Costas becoming ridiculously wealthy because of their "brilliance" in holding my Budweiser for me for a few days before I'm allowed to drink it.

Anonymous said...

The Southern Baptists explicitly oppose this delivery of wine to the home. Who knows what it could be next, it really could lead to a “cigar bar” with horrible 15 year old Balvenie. Urge your legislators to oppose any move to relinquish control of alcohol to crooks and hoodlums. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice to have all our counties and municipalities “dry”, free from the scourge of a good Bordeaux or Chardonnay. We just need to trust our fine legislators, I know that all are the real “ moral majority”. As I once heard a pastor say “ Jackson is wet, see how it is working out for them”. The executives at ABC barely scrape by while protecting us, we should thank them.

Anonymous said...

Time to book some travel and arrest some folks who had no idea what the state law in Mississippi is, perhaps the AG could sue someone, for something - he's pretty good at that...

DISGUSTED said...

Maybe this will provide some political pressure for change. AG's office overlooks corruption 'hiding' in plain sight, but launches a sting operation to stop suburbanites from getting a few bottles of freaking wine? Seriously?? ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC

Anonymous said...

6:28
Cut the crap! Everybody knows that Baptists now drink in front of each other!! (btw, i am one...... : ))

Anonymous said...

With the inception of legalized whiskey sales in Mississippi, it was initially illegal for a 'package store' to allow folks on the sidewalk to see inside the windows. No signage outside could identify whiskey or spirits or grain alcohol as the product being sold inside the door.

And it was not legal to advertise 'discount whiskey' (or cigarettes for that matter).

Now that Mississippi has become Thoroughly Modern Milly, we're allowed to see through the window of a liquor store without descending into Hell and every Patel whiskey store attached to a convenience store and gas station can advertise 'Discount Liquor' on the signs on the building, which is an impossibility in this state, not to mention false advertising since you can't discount what the State mandates.

What the hell is it with 'us' that causes us to walk around with tight sphincters trying to control every damned thing?

Hello Darlin' said...

I'd respect Jim Hood a lot more if he'd spend his time on real criminal threats and public corruption - plenty of that in the state. How about prosecuting street gangs and their leaders under the state RICO statute? How about chasing down the bullshit at DPS (ALL of it)? How about devoting some real talent and resources to combat human trafficking, smuggling and illegal and exploited labor?

Anonymous said...

They indicted a 13 Year old in Philadelphia, what yall think about that?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind so much if the ABC knew a damn thing about wine and alcohol. Their tastes run to moonshine to wash down their KFC.

Anonymous said...

Most people are not buying wine online to cheat the State out of tax revenue-- they are buying a particular bottle/brand that they can't even GET in Mississippi.

The liquor stores in essence have to "buy" their stock from the State ABC, and if the ABC doesn't have what they want -- which is almost always the case-- too bad. You can ask your local liquor store to try to get it, but they have to try to get the state to agree to carry it, and not way are you going to be able to buy just a couple of bottle to taste.

If you get it at all, expect to wait months and be forced to buy an entire case. This is not about trying to avoid taxes.

Between issues like this and the pending opioid rules, we are 50 out of 50; we've somehow managed to become 55th out of 50.

Anonymous said...

someone explain to me the purpose of ABC?? Is this not an outdated agency. Alcohol Beverage Control... is this not prohibition era??

Anonymous said...

Jim Hood looks extremely odd. What is with the hairdo?

Anonymous said...

"He's only enforcing the laws on the books" is a bad argument.

The AG, like every other agency, has limited resources. Prosecutorial discretion is part of his job.

Resources devoted to busting wine stores are resources that can't be devoted to protecting the public from real dangers and protecting the State from real threats.

Louis LeFleur said...

According to today's CL article, MS is one of only five states that doesn't allow this. As said above, the currently pending HB 98 would address the issue and make it legal. So if you want to change things instead of whining on JJ, contact your state representative, and go ahead and contact your state senator too. Want to abolish the ABC? Great idea, but legislation like that will take longer. Let's take a baby step now. Oh, and while you're whining, remember that 36 counties, or some sub jurisdiction within a county, of Mississippi's 82 counties are still dry. Think on that a while. Nearly ½ are dry... and the AG complaint was apparently filed in the most hypocritical "dry" county in MS: Rankin.

Anonymous said...

We need protection from "whine" not wine.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:34:

The purpose of ABC is contained in its name - Control. ABC agents told me this in 1988 when I opened a liquor store. It is a relic of bootlegging days.

There is also a reason it is under the Department of Revenue. I am not sure if it is the same %, but thirty years ago, the State taxed every case of wine and liquor at 28%. For those of y'all that want to blame this mess on the liquor stores, think again. The average markup on a bottle of whiskey is in the 15% range and wine slighty higher. The only entity making money on wine and whiskey is the one that is trying to control it.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing more than a giant waste of public funds and resources to float a bakoon and gauge the response of the voters who worship under the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention and to cozy up to its leaders. As another said, Mississippi is limited in the wines it even allows in the state to begin with, and Hood's cyber crime investigators should be spending real time and effort, as mentioned above, investigating human trafficking, labor and sexual. Come election time he won't be so popular for chasing down Google, but a nice tirade against booze will buy him more than a few votes. Sad that moves the needle more than stopping children from being sold for abuse.

Anonymous said...

Y'all excuse AG Hood; he's just pandering for the Baptist vote when he runs for Governor.

Anonymous said...


Mississippi is such a Litigious State it's a wonder anyone wants to do business inside our borders. Keep it up Mr. AG and watch the downfall of our state continue.

We can not sue our way out of the mess our legislators have put us in.

Anonymous said...

Quit yer bitchin' and just drive to Louisiana - dey gots lottery AND better booze!

Anonymous said...

Using Hood's <$6> of $25 bottle of wine, and average markup of 15plus%, that'd have the dealer netting $3 a bottle profit... half of the amount the state collects. Lousy deal for the dealer and consumer.

Anonymous said...

@11:18

The Baptist are all in favor of home delivery of wine and spirits. That way they won't be seen coming and going from package stores.

Back in about 2004 I was in West Texas and ran across Doc McGullicudy's Cinnamon Whiskey. I loaded up knowing it wasn't available in Mississippi. Upon returning home I started an internet search for a supplier that would ship to MS. It took a good bit of searching but I finally found one that would ship to MS. I shared this wonderful spirit with many friends and they all loved it. After a few years Doc sold his brand and it is now called Fireball. I kept pressing the owner of a local package store to request that it be added to the ABC buy list. After several years of insistence by him and other owners it was added to the list. Once it became available in local stores I stopped ordering online. The rest is Fireball history.

PS--Every I time I received a delivery I was required to show proof of age to the UPS driver.

Plain ol' Catfish said...

You're right 11:22. Decades and decades of a legislature that was lock, stock and barrel under the total control of Democrats put Mississippi is a bad spot and now that very same party of Democrats is fighting hard to return to, and retain, the status quo that got us in this mess to start with.

Anonymous said...

@12:20...THANK YOU! I've had many a good night around the fire at deer camp passing a bottle of Fireball...

Anonymous said...

All of this makes perfect sense if you will just understand there has never been a single (No not one) politician, from dog catcher all the way up to president. No not a single one. They sold their souls to Satan at the first election and only fell further down that hole with each subsequent day at the public feeding trough.

Anonymous said...

The statist theocrat of the Senate, Andy Gipson, is extremely happy about this.

Anonymous said...

This is Mississippi not Louisiana!

Anonymous said...

If you think this is bad, try getting deer hunting with dogs banned. The redneck morons come out and circle the Capitol with their trucks with dog boxes on the back. We are a backwards fucking state full of quasi religious idiots.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not government rules and regulations are in place for our benefit and safety. These are simply guides put into place by appointed people to serve us the public. Not all big government is bad. Overreaching is bad... this is simply not that.

Anonymous said...

Consider this, our in state producers can't circumvent ABC or they will be shut down. But if we allow these NY folks to bypass and sell cheaper OUR producer will loose sales and go out of business anyway. Could it possibly be he's trying to help our instate friends by levelling the playing field?

Anonymous said...

Damn, This state blows.....

Anonymous said...

8:41, regulations are not guides, they are rules with consequences put into place by non-elected (and many times self-interested) bureaucrats. Let's hear from some liquor store owners and see how they fared when they ran afoul of the "guides."

Anonymous said...

Irnteresting timing considering the legislature is in town and considering bills

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