In a recent piece by New York health advocates, they went after any proposed consumer friendly changes to the New York liquor system. They stated that “any efforts to expand alcohol access in the name of consumer convenience, or private profit, should be suspended indefinitely.”

They attempt to strengthen their position by relying on stats that alcohol related deaths increased 29% from 2017 to 2021. In their opinion “ Legalizing alcohol shipping direct to the home will not only pour gas on the fire that is threatening public health, but it will also contribute to increased underage consumption.” They further rely on regulator reports from South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Massachusetts, and Vermont, which show that wine packages were delivered without age verification.

Next, they take aim at cocktails-to-go, while citing to a federal study that indicates cocktails-to-go contributed to spikes in alcohol consumption.

Finally, they stated that allowing shipping to homes and allowing wine in grocery stores, will lead to increase sales and consumption and will be a threat to women and adolescent’s health.

The claims analyzed

If we are going to have a sincere discussion about the health impacts of alcohol and whether more avenues of obtaining alcohol should be shut off, then we need to perform a more thorough analysis.

Let’s look at some of the claims the CDC report they cite makes. The CDC, which lost a lot of credibility during COVID, states that during the peak of COVID years there was a 23% increase in the number of deaths from alcohol abuse. The report discusses what the CDC believes are the symptoms of the problem.

“During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–2021, policies were widely implemented to expand alcohol carryout and delivery to homes, and places that sold alcohol for off-premise consumption (e.g., liquor stores) were deemed as essential businesses in many states (and remained open during lockdowns). General delays in seeking medical attention, including avoidance of emergency departments**** for alcohol-related conditions††††; stress, loneliness, and social isolation; and mental health conditions might also have contributed to the increase in deaths from excessive alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The CDC makes the claim about to-go-cocktails helping contribute to an increase in alcohol abuse without any data to back up their assertions. Finally, they take aim inadvertently at government shutdown policies, which coincided with the worst years in alcohol abuse numbers. But somehow, they can’t bring themselves to study whether causation exist between the COVID lockdowns and deaths from alcohol abuse.

Next, the article takes aim at DTC shipping. Specifically, how it will put alcohol into the hands of adolescents and how state stings have uncovered minors ordering alcohol and a lack of age verification by common carriers.

First, minors are not utilizing the internet to purchase alcohol. The Supreme Court concluded this in 2005 in Granholm and a recent VinoShipper study with extensive data proved this out. Second, the stings where minors have purchased alcohol online, do not reflect the reality of things, as the VinoShipper study demonstrates. These artificial setups do not account for that minors would need to utilize their parents credit card to purchase, which is a big deterrence for purchasing online, and they would need to wait for days and hope they are not age verified by the common carrier driver.

As for recipients not being age verified, often times if someone looks well above 21, whether it is in the store or at the door, they are not going to be age verified.  It is common sense looking like Uncle Jesse from the Dukes of Hazzard almost guarantees you won’t be carded.

Finally, their claim that allowing increased shipping and wine in grocery stores will lead to health threats, seems more aimed at protectionism. There is no hard data to back this point up. Many states over the years have increased avenues on where you can purchase alcohol, and some have expanded the days in which you can purchase alcohol. Neither of these openings has led to significantly adverse impacts on society. Winery shipping increased since Granholm, no evidence was presented that direct wine shipping led to excessive alcohol abuse.

This seems aimed at stopping the expansion out-of-state wine retailer and supplier shipping and aimed at allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores.


Alcohol abuse is a serious matter, which deserves a serious discussion. However, any position which aims to stop advancement should provide data to support its conclusion. Doing otherwise does a disservice to everyone involved.