The Grapevine

The Three-Tiered Alcohol-Sales System

July 19th, 2016

Our alerts for wine biz news this week brought us an interesting article from an outlet we’d never read before. [level-members]

We can’t vouch for their overall non-partisanship, but R Street certainly seems to have done its research on the question of the producer/distributor/retail model that has been in place since Prohibition was repealed in the U.S.

And it does seem as if the three-tiered system has served it purpose and may be ripe for change. But change is never easy when politics is involved – and when money is part of the political process. (And when is money not a part of the political process?)

I wonder, though, about the unintended consquences we might see if there are wholesale changes to distribution laws.

Then again, the way direct-to-consumer sales are booming in any number of industries, anyone who isn’t producing a product or service for sale may be looking for work. Amazon is clearly bucking the trend, but it’s not a given that they’ll be able to survive in the world they’ve created. We all want it cheap, and that may mean the end of the middleman, be it distributor or retailer.