The U.S. Postal Service is determined to find new revenue streams, and they’re now discussing postal shipments of alcohol. While competitors FedEx and UPS already do this, the Postal Service is chained down by a prohibition-era law that bans the shipment of any “spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented, or other intoxicating liquors of any kind” by mail. They’re hoping to reverse that law, and I say it’s about damn time. Here are 5 great reasons why they should:
1. They’re Broke
This is the main reason, and every other reason really spawns from it. The United States Postal Service is broke. Like, in the red. They need money. And they’ll make some if they let Americans ship beer, wine, and spirits throughout the country.
2. It’s a Revenue Stream with Enormous Growth Potential
It seems there’s a new beer or brewery popping up almost daily in the US. Beer enthusiasts love trying (and sharing) new beers, but it’s often impossible to do this, as many of the brands are confined by geography. Imagine if we were able to send these beers to our out-of-state friends. More beers means more sharing which means more shipping and more money for the Postal Service. This applies to craft wine and spirits as well.
3. Prohibition is Over (It’s Been Over)
The law banning shipments of alcohol took effect on March 4, 1909, as the temperance movement was growing. A decade later, Prohibition was brought on by the 18th amendment, and it was repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933. So, we’re talking about a law that was written over 100 years ago and lost all relevance 80 years ago. What’s the holdup here?
4. Holiday Revenue
The Postal Service makes a killing during the holidays as it is. Imagine if they were able to ship alcohol. Booze is a hugely popular gift. If people could ship it, they most certainly would.
5. They’re Broke
This deserves another spot on the list. According to CNN, in 2012, the agency lost $16 billion. Last year, they twice defaulted on payments owed to the federal government to pre-fund retiree healthcare benefits totaling $11 billion. They’ve also exhausted a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
They need cash, and I understand that this isn’t a one-and-done, easy fix. They’ll need a sure-fire method for ensuring that those under 21 aren’t receiving alcohol by mail, and they’ll have to work around various state laws. But, in my opinion, it’s worth it. They just need Congress on board. So, if you’d like, send this blog post to your local congressman with a quick note that says, “WTF are we waiting for?”