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Schumer pushes for end to ban on USPS shipping alcohol

Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

Sen. Charles Schumer says lifting a ban on the U.S. Postal Service shipping alcohol will help both the struggling postal carrier and New York’s growing beer and wine industry.

Private carriers like UPS and Fed-Ex can deliver mail-order alcohol. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is pushing for the USPS to be able to do the same. The ban against it transporting alcohol dates back to Prohibition.

"It will be a way for consumers far and wide to order their favorite New York beers and wines and get hold of them." Schumer said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. 

The financially strapped postal service says allowing them to ship alcohol could generate more than $225 million in new annual revenue. Schumer hopes it will also save jobs and small post offices.

The New York wine industry says mail order sales are increasing annually, up nearly eight percent in 2012 over the year before. Allowing them to use flat-rate USPS shipping will increase sales and increase revenue, according to Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation.

"All of which means there are going to be increased wine sales and with that, an increasing reputation of New York as a wine and beer producing region in the United States," said Trezise.

The law change would be part of a Postal Reform Bill, which Schumer says Congress will take up soon.

There are several hundred craft wineries and breweries in upstate New York.