Does the Three Tier System of Alcohol Sales Kill People?

atts1Today we are told by the Center for Disease Control that excessive alcohol use accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age adults ages 20-64 years in the United States. If this is true, I know what the culprit is: The Three Tier System.

For years we’ve heard from alcohol wholesalers that the state-mandated three-tier system of alcohol distribution creates all sorts of safeguards for our community. For example:

“Michigan’s alcohol distribution laws – also called the three-tier system – have long been acknowledged as the gold standard. Our safeguards balance business needs and market growth with public health and safety concerns.”
MICHIGAN BEER AND WINE WHOLESALERS ASSOCIATION

“The policy of the State and the purpose of its restrictions, regulations, provisions, and penalties are for the protection, health, welfare and safety of the people of the State of Iowa.
IOWA WHOLESALE BEER ASSOCIATION

“the system facilitated distribution while discouraging over-consumption and encouraging responsible consumption.”
WINE AND SPIRITS WHOLESALERS ASSOCIATION

And this is just the shortest sample of the claims made by wholesalers that their carefully protected system that allows them monopolies, complete control over the market place and the means to be as lazy as they like is the be all, end all of alcohol safety in the U.S.

If the CDC is right, then clearly the claims of the wholesalers don’t hold up. In fact, if the three-tier system is claimed to have the ability to prevent abuse and to define a healthy alcohol consumption environment, then surely it must also be the cause of this news of 1 in 10 deaths being alcohol related.

Is there any other conclusion to be drawn than Three Tier System is killing people.

 

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8 Responses

  1. David Vergari - June 28, 2014

    Tom,
    Get rid of these dumb-ass posts!!! Jeez.

    • Jim Wallace - June 30, 2014

      Good Call David.

  2. Patrick - July 2, 2014

    I have no liking for the 3-tier system either, but this way of attacking it seems overblown. Illogical, as Mr. Spock would say.

  3. Tom Natan - July 3, 2014

    It’s perfectly reasonable to push back against states’ claims that their three-tier system protects the public. If 10% of adult deaths are alcohol-related, then the system isn’t working as well as it should. You could ask if there would be more or fewer alcohol-related deaths without the three-tier system. Perhaps 10% is the lowest rate possible in a regulatory environment covering a legally-available product and the three-tier system has nothing to do with it. But it’s certainly worth posing the question. After all, what Tom wrote here is no more outrageous than the claims of those with a vested interest in maintaining the three-tier system have said about direct shipping.

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