Here is an interesting editorial from The Seattle Times including this passage:
In the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, the state has been saying it wants to keep wine and beer expensive so that the people will drink less of it. To that end, in the wholesale market the state bans volume discounts, sales at negotiated prices, sales on credit and delivery to a customer's warehouse.This is an odd concept seeing as homebrewing is legal and allows the creation, with basic skills, of quite acceptable beer for, say, one-tenth of the price in shops. The same goes for wine. In each case, the substance is not in reality controlled under law - just the market in the substance.
Reading the excellent Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance by Richard Unger as I am (expect a review soon), I am also accutely aware that the price of beer is directly tied to the taxation of beer and that since 1300 it has placed a massive role in public revenues which would be drastically cut if there was deflation in the beer market. So while it is correct to say there is an public interest in safety in relation to beer as a substance to be consumed with confidence, it is not really the case that there is a public interest in reducing the amount people actually drink - only in reducing the circumstances of harm that might arise.