Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Liquor Industry Fully On-Board With Self-Driving Cars, Joins Lobbying Group

From the Washington Post:

Why the liquor industry wants to get self-driving cars on the road
Automakers and tech firms have long been the ones hustling to get self-driving cars on the street. But they’ve lately been joined by a surprise ally: America’s alcohol industry.

In recent weeks, two industry groups -- one representing wine and liquor wholesalers, and another representing large producers -- have thrown their weight behind coalitions lobbying to get autonomous vehicles on the road faster.

Inherent in their support, analysts say, is an understanding that self-driving cars could revolutionize the way Americans drink. Brewers and distillers say autonomous vehicles could reduce drunk driving.

Without the need to drive home after a night at the bar, drinkers could also consume far more. And that will boost alcohol sales, one analysis predicts, by as much as $250 billion.

“It makes a lot of sense that the industry is interested,” said Jim Watson, a senior beverage analyst at Rabobank, a multinational finance firm. “It’s a win-win for them: Self-driving cars could boost alcohol sales and simultaneously reduce drunk driving.”

Industry groups say they have kept tabs on this technology for years. On March 1, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, a group representing nearly 400 U.S. alcohol brokers, officially joined the Coalition for Future Mobility, which has lobbied in favor of self-driving cars.

That same week, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility -- an industry-funded nonprofit that battles underage drinking and drunk driving -- signed on in support of a pending bill that would speed the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. FAAR’s members include Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Constellation, four of the world's largest liquor and beer producers....MORE