US Postal Service Considers Shipping Alcohol

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Postmaster General says it could make $50 million

Wikimedia/Terry Ross

With fewer people relying on the US Postal Service to mail actual letters in recent years, the USPS is facing a $15 billion in losses this year. But Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe thinks there's still good money to be made, if only the post office were allowed to ship alcohol.

According to ABC News, the USPS is currently not allowed to ship alcohol, though private carriers like UPS have been shipping spirits for decades and enjoying the profits.

“There’s a lot of money to be made in shipping beer, wine and spirits,” Donahoe said. “We’d like to be in that business.”

Donahoe estimates that the USPS would see additional revenues of $50 million if it could only get in on the alcohol-delivery game.

A 1909 law made it illegal for the postal service to deliver alcohol, and that law is still in place. But late Thursday legislation was introduced in the Senate that would help get that old-timey ordinance out of the way.

“If [the USPS] were to shut down, the impact on our economy would be devastating,” said Senator Tom Carper. “With the right tools and quick action from Congress, the Postal Service can reform, right-size and modernize.”

Hard-copy letters and magazines may have been largely replaced by their electronic counterparts, but people still want alcohol, and alcohol has no digital substitute.

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