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Essay on State-Level Alcohol Licensing Wins First Place in Center for Alcohol Policy’s 11th Annual Essay Contest

Alexandria, Va. – The Center for Alcohol Policy is pleased to announce that Nathaniel E. Moyer, an associate attorney at Harrison & Moberly, LLP in Indianapolis, has been named the winner of the Center’s 11th Annual Essay Contest. The national essay contest is intended to foster debate, analysis and examination of alcohol policy.

To enter the contest, participants were asked to provide thoughtful responses to the following prompt:

The licensing of individuals and businesses that are involved in the commerce of alcoholic beverages is an important feature of state-based alcohol regulation. Why is licensing necessary for an orderly marketplace, what impact does it have on public health and safety and what are the benefits provided by licensing systems?

“This year’s essay contest gave participants the opportunity to remind us of the importance of strong licensing regulations on those engaged in the commerce of alcohol,” stated Brannon Denning, Center advisor and associate dean and law professor at Samford University Cumberland School of Law, “the winning essays all highlight the public health and safety benefits of this important enforcement tool.”

Moyer’s winning essay, “Drink Local, Think Regional: Implementing an Orderly Alcohol Marketplace Through State-Level Licensing,” argues that the modern licensing system has proven its legitimacy and capacity through accomplishing “the goal of curbing alcohol’s worst excesses while concurrently promoting safe and responsible consumption.” His paper details the harmful impacts of alcohol use, illustrates previous alcohol policy initiatives in America and their effects, describes lessons learned from those policy agendas, and finally dives into the licensing system that exists today and its benefits to the public.

Moyer concludes that the “local regulatory framework model embraced by the 21st Amendment… has proven both durable and sustainable… The clear benefits of the current system should not be lightly disregarded, and wise policymakers will seek to preserve it.

Timothy Gervais, a Staff Tax Accountant at Tidwell & Associates in Rocklin, CA, was awarded second place with his essay, “Benefits of Alcohol Licensing: A Brief Discussion.” Gervais explained how the current “three-tiered licensing system of producers, distributors, and retailers provides a regulatory framework intended to: 1) provide safe alcohol to the consumer, 2) ensure that tax revenue from the sale of alcohol is returned to the state, and 3) discourage public over-consumption while mitigating the negative health and social effects of excessive alcohol intake,” but that meaningful regulation lies in implementation.

Shannon Auvil, a law clerk in Georgia, was awarded third place for her essay, “Creating Order for a Disorderly Product.” Her essay legitimizes the foundation for how alcohol is regulated today, expressing how “most effective public safety efforts are multi-faceted – they consider new technology, various audiences, education outreach, and creative ways to engage the public and make our communities stronger,” all the while being guided by those decades-old principals of an orderly marketplace.

The winning entrants received prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 respectively.

Photo Downloads:

Nathaniel Moyer – First Place

Timothy Gervais– Second Place

Shannon Auvil– Third Place


The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501 c(3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation. By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption. For more information, visit or follow the Center on Twitter at

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Center for Alcohol Policy
277 S. Washington Street Suite 500-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090