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U.S. Postal Service Might Start Shipping Alcohol

Care packages expected to improve 100%

August 9, 2013  |  10:00am
U.S. Postal Service Might Start Shipping Alcohol

If things keep going the way they do, then Ben Gibbard may not be the only one shutting down The Postal Service. Over the past few years the U.S. Postal Service has been on a downward slope, the company lost $16 billion dollars in 2012 alone. So naturally, USPS is looking to recover some of this lost ground in whatever ways possible. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Postmaster Patrick Donahoe stated that he endorses the ending of most door-to-door and Saturday delivery services, but the big kicker is that the company may soon begin delivering alcoholic beverages.

For over a century federal law has prohibited the Postal Service, but not private carriers, from shipping “all spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented or other intoxicating liquors of any kind.” It’s a law from the pre-Prohibition era that’s somehow still in effect. Last year the Senate passed a reform bill that included a provision that would allow the agency to deliver alcohol. The reform would require that said shipments would comply with any state laws where the shipment originated and was delivered, meaning that the handful of states that still prohibit alcohol shipment from outside states would stay as such. The bill also states the recipient would have to be at least 21 years old and would need to provide valid, government-issued photo identification upon delivery.

But all of these provisions are entirely reasonable when you consider the $50 million a year in profit that the Postal Service could net, according to Donahoe. “There’s a lot of money to be made in shipping beer, wine and spirits,” Donahoe said. “We’d like to be in that business.” But Donahoe isn’t the only one that wants to lift this “unfair competitive ban.”

Online beer distributors like LetsPour are just as excited to hear of the potential reform. The company’s owner, Raghav Kher says that they “can’t wait for the service to start doing this.” Kher claims that it’s a “win-win situation for the postal service, for our businesses and for consumers.” Companies like LetsPour currently have to ship through FedEx or UPS, companies that are “a lot more expensive than the Postal Service.”

“The Postal Service will have a fixed price on three-bottle shipping, six-bottle shipping and 12-bottle shipping all at a flat rate. So if we want to ship three wines to New York, there would one flat price to ship it to anywhere in the country,” Kher states. Ultimately lifting this ban could benefit all parties involved. Because really, what could be better than enjoying a beer that you never had to leave the house for?

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