Mike Cason’s article on AL.com lays out the ABC Board’s response to the multitude (hundreds? thousands?) of citizens who responded to the ABC Board’s proposed rule that would obligate our local breweries, brewpubs, wineries, and distilleries to keep record of purchasers’ information including name, address, telephone number, and date of birth.  As a reminder, this would be for every sales transaction, even for a single bottle of beer.  The ABC Board has responded to your calls and emails, but in doing so, have failed to address any of the expressed concerns.

The expectation for the “new-and-improved” proposed rule (expectation, as it has not been officially proposed yet) would still obligate breweries, brewpubs, wineries and distilleries to record the names and addresses of customers who buy anything for off-premises consumption.  Just as before, one has to wonder what is the purpose of doing this?  As reported in Mr. Cason’s article,

“ABC officials said the requirement to record the names of buyers is to ensure that required taxes are paid in the same way as when the manufacturers, the breweries, sell to wholesalers, rather than directly to a consumer. ABC Board spokesman Dean Argo said the staff would recommend changing the proposed rule to remove the requirement that the breweries, wineries and distilleries report the personal information of buyers to the ABC Board. Instead, the proposed regulation will say the sellers will retain the names and addresses for their records, which are subject to ABC audits, Argo said.”

Is it just me, or does this seem any different than the first proposal?  What purpose would an audit serve, if it did not also include the possibility of empowering the ABC to verify your purchase?  How is collecting this information necessary to ensure appropriate tax levies?  If that is necessary, why am I able to purchase liquor at the ABC store, or beer in the grocery store, and no one asks me my name or where I live (let alone write this information down)?

On the one hand, we appreciate that the ABC is required to enforce the law.  That really is their sole job.  How they do that, however, is up to interpretation and just as before, this proposed rule seems like a clear overreaching invasion of privacy.

We will continue to fight for the rights of the consumer in the great State of Alabama, and will continue to fight this change.  We ask everyone to continue to write to the ABC to voice your displeasure with their ruling.  You can do this two ways, email and snail mail.  Their email address is admin@abc.alabama.gov and their mailing address is:

Alabama ABC Board
2715 Gunter Park Drive West
Montgomery, Alabama 36109

We hope that with your help, we can still get this rule stopped.

Edit: We also want to add that the new proposed ruling hasn’t been voted on yet by the ABC Board, they met earlier this week to discuss it and the AL.com article was a report on that meeting.