President Joe Biden this month issued an executive order on promoting competition in the American economy. The order includes a section on beverage alcohol, including spirits, copied below:
(j) To protect the vibrancy of the American markets for beer, wine, and spirits, and to improve market access for smaller, independent, and new operations, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Chair of the FTC, not later than 120 days after the date of this order, shall submit a report to the Chair of the White House Competition Council, assessing the current market structure and conditions of competition, including an assessment of any threats to competition and barriers to new entrants, including:
(i) any unlawful trade practices in the beer, wine, and spirits markets, such as certain exclusionary, discriminatory, or anticompetitive distribution practices, that hinder smaller and independent businesses or new entrants from distributing their products;
(ii) patterns of consolidation in production, distribution, or retail beer, wine, and spirits markets; and
(iii) any unnecessary trade practice regulations of matters such as bottle sizes, permitting, or labeling that may unnecessarily inhibit competition by increasing costs without serving any public health, informational, or tax purpose.
(k) To follow up on the foregoing assessment, the Secretary of the Treasury, through the Administrator of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, shall, not later than 240 days after the date of this order, consider:
(i) initiating a rulemaking to update the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s trade practice regulations;
(ii) rescinding or revising any regulations of the beer, wine, and spirits industries that may unnecessarily inhibit competition; and
(iii) reducing any barriers that impede market access for smaller and independent brewers, winemakers, and distilleries.