Although often viewed cautiously by industry members, federal and state alcohol regulators work for the industry and the American public to assure that the market place is a safe, as well as a level, playing field. The federal and state alcohol agencies all were formed as a direct result of this nation’s ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933.
Most alcohol agencies are chartered to regulate and control the manufacture and distribution of alcohol beverages within their respective jurisdictions for the purpose of fostering and promoting temperance in their consumption, and respect for and obedience to law. "Temperance" is intended to encompass the broad range of political, social, economic and cultural dictates associated with the regulation of alcohol. These dictates include sheltering minors, discouraging irresponsible or excess consumption, assuring payment of taxes, discouraging contraband (whether adulterated, tainted, or counterfeit), and promoting the operation of an orderly licensing system that facilitates government's ability to control and account for how alcohol beverages are produced, marketed, transported, sold, and consumed. The element of public accountability is a very important responsibility that was instrumental to the development of the three-tier system following Prohibition; sadly, however, it goes unmentioned all too often during litigation or public debate over the efficacy of traditional alcohol regulation.
Part and parcel with their temperance responsibilities, alcohol agencies also are authorized to determine whether public convenience, advantage and “orderly markets” will be promoted by the issuance of licenses to traffic in alcohol beverages. Consequently, subject to applicable statutes and regulations, these agencies increase or decrease the number of licensees and the location of licensed premises in a manner that best suits the public interest. They do so through the timely processing of license applications, permits and brand label registrations.
Alcohol agencies also are responsible for compliance and enforcement. They protect the public directly, and in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, to bring administrative actions against licensees who violate the law.
Because we recognize the important role performed by alcohol regulators, our Alcohol Industry Team undertakes pro bono legal research on behalf of regulators where those efforts serve the public interest. Likewise, our professionals lecture and present legal programs to regulator associations such as the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA), the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) and the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA).