Pabst Brewing Co. v. Crenshaw,
Annotate this Case
198 U.S. 17 (1905)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Pabst Brewing Co. v. Crenshaw, 198 U.S. 17 (1905)
Pabst Brewing Company v. Crenshaw
Argued December 8, 1904
Decided April 17, 1905
198 U.S. 17
The malt liquor inspection law of Missouri provides for the inspection of malt liquors manufactured within the state and also for those manufactured without and held for sale and consumption within the state. The supreme court of the state sustained the law deciding, among other things, that the act does not affect liquors shipped into the state and held there for reshipment without the state, that it does not discriminate in favor of beer manufactured in the state, and that it is not a revenue, but an inspection law. The constitutionality of the law was attacked
by a manufacturer of malt liquors without the state as an interference with interstate commerce, and also on the ground that a the amount of the inspection charge far exceeds the expense of inspection it is a revenue, and not an inspection law, and therefore does not fall under permissive provisions of the Wilson Act. Held:
A state statute which operates upon beer and malt liquors shipped from other states after their arrival and while held for sale and consumption within the state, is not an interference with interstate commerce in view of the provisions of the Wilson Act.
The regulation of the sale of liquor is essentially a police power of the state, and a provision in a state law, tending to determine the purity of malt liquor sold in the state, is an exercise of the same power.
The purpose of the Wilson Act is to make liquor, after its arrival in a state, a domestic product, and to confer power on the states to deal with it accordingly. The police power is hence to be measured by the right of the state to control or regulate domestic products and this creates a state, and not a federal, question as respects the commerce clause of the Constitution, and this Court cannot review the determination of the state court that the statute involved in this case was not a revenue, but an inspection, measure.
A state regulation, valid under the Wilson Act, as to liquors shipped from another state after delivery at destination is not an interference with interstate commerce because it affects traffic in, and deters shipments of, the article into that state.
The rule that state inspection laws, which do not provide adequate inspection and impose a burden beyond the cost of inspection, are repugnant to the commerce clause of the Constitution does not apply to liquor after they have ceased to be articles of interstate commerce under the provisions of the Wilson Act.
The facts are stated in the opinion.