Eighty Years Ago: Wisconsin Voted to Repeal Prohibition

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Spotlight Multi-Billion Dollar Impact on Wisconsin Economy

Apr 24, 2013, 16:10 ET from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On April 25, Wisconsin marks an historic anniversary: on that date eighty years ago Wisconsin voted to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it the second of 36 states to do so, ultimately ending Prohibition and repealing the 18th Amendment. Marking this occasion, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) released a detailed economic snapshot of the industry's multi-billion dollar impact in Wisconsin.

Today, the Wisconsin wine and spirits industry supports more than 18,800 direct jobs, more than 4,900 supplier and service provider jobs, and 31,100 total jobs statewide. Wine and spirits wholesalers throughout the state directly employ approximately 900 Wisconsin workers. The industry generates a total economic impact of $2.9 billion, a direct economic impact of $1.1 billion, and pays more than $887 million in wages to Wisconsin-based workers each year, according to an economic analysis released by WSWA and prepared by New York-based John Dunham & Associates.

Beyond wages and economic impact, the wine and spirits industry in Wisconsin generates more than $184 million in business taxes for state government ($187 million for the federal government) and over $112 million in consumer-paid state taxes on beverage alcohol products.

"The 21st Amendment paved the way for the creation of the modern three-tier beverage alcohol regulatory system that today delivers the widest variety of products available to consumers anywhere in the world in a manner that is safe, well-regulated, and ensures reliable revenue streams for state and federal government," WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.

On April 25 in 1933, Wisconsin became the second state to take action on an historic Constitutional amendment—the only amendment to repeal another amendment, and the only amendment ratified by the state convention process. 

Wolf pointed out that even today in Europe, Asia and Latin America, consumers regularly suffer because of unsafe, adulterated or counterfeit beverage alcohol. He said these issues are non-existent in the United States largely because of the regulatory framework enacted by the states and federal government under the 21st Amendment.

Wolf concluded, "All facets of the beverage industry have been a part of Wisconsin communities as far back as the early 1800s, supplying jobs and contributing to local economies. That spirit is still strong today as Wisconsin supports thriving group of distilleries, breweries and wineries."

WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. It is dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesale distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has over 350 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 70 percent of all wines and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States. More information is available at www.wswa.org.

SOURCE Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America