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Rhode Island legislature blocks direct sales.

Associated Press--Orders at alcoholic beverages shipped to Rhode Islanders must go through licensed retailers, under a bill unanimously passed by the House on Thursday.

The bill seeks to crack down on underage drinking by maintaining a three-tier system that calls for alcoholic beverages to pass from a wholesaler, to a distributor, and then to a retailer before it reaches the customer.

The Senate already has passed the bill. It now goes to Gov. Lincoln Almond for consideration. Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, said she pushed for legislation after hearing about a 10-year-old girl who gave her father a liquor basket for Christmas, which she had ordered over the Internet using his credit card.

The bill allows a person of legal drinking age to purchase alcohol out-of-state and ship it back to himself, provided the shipment has a label stating the package contains alcohol and a legal adult signs for it.

Penalties for sellers include a cease-and-desist order from the state, and fines ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Direct sales by phone or Internet were estimated to account for $500 million of the $17 billion wine industry last year. Several lawsuits have been filed across the country as small wineries seek to overturn state laws that limit Internet wine sales.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U1RI
Date:Jun 25, 2001
Words:209
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