Let's promote Hoosier companies

February 23, 2009

I write to strenuously object to the selective and inaccurate use of my quote in your [Feb. 16] editorial regarding Indiana residency requirements and the state's liquor industry.

Beer wholesalers benefit from franchise protections that liquor wholesalers don't have. We must be paid an agreed-to price before our brands can be transferred to another wholesaler. These are brands we have spent years building, and, unlike liquor wholesalers, our rights are protected by both the Indiana Code and Indiana case law. Only under these conditions did we decide it was "silly" for us to maintain our five-year residency requirement to be a beer wholesaler.

I also stated to your reporter [in a Feb. 9 story] that if a residency requirement was the only thing that protected us from losing our brands for no compensation, we would be protecting ourselves just as the liquor wholesalers are, and we would not have dropped our residency requirement. My "silly" comment had nothing to do with the residency requirements.

I am sure that Southern Wine and Spirits is a fine company, but Olinger Distributing and National Wine and Spirits are wonderful Indiana companies who have been employing Hoosiers, paying taxes and supporting their communities through charitable giving for many years. Why would we turn our backs on them, especially if they are not going to be fairly compensated for losing any brands they helped build?

Indiana should defend its residency requirement for liquor wholesalers as a form of franchise protection and see how the courts decide. We owe that much to Olinger and National for all they have done for Indiana as corporate citizens.

Marc CarmichaelIndiana Beverage Council

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