Monday, May 16, 2005

Buy direct and save

In 1933 the Constitutional Amendment that ended prohibition gave birth to a three-tiered distribution system: liquor producer to licensed wholesaler to licensed retailer, with great powers given to the individual states. This system enabled states to track and tax alcoholic beverages and, in many states, control pricing. The Supreme Court ruling today throws a wrench in the crusher.
The Supreme Court ruled today, in a case of interest to millions of wine-drinkers and those who make a living in the multibillion-dollar industry, that people can buy wine directly from out-of-state vineyards.
Those arguing against this "direct from producer to consumer" ruling insisted that it would enhance minors access to alcohol. The Supremes weren't buying it.

But the ruling raises a couple of interesting questions. Why couldn't retailers now buy directly from producers, eliminating the wholesaler altogether and reducing prices to consumers? For that matter, why couldn't consumers buy beer and liquor directly from producers too?

I'm the guy with a pallet of Dewar's being delivered on my driveway.

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