Archive for the ‘Three Tier System’ Category

Sep 17, 2018

A Corrupt Scheme At The Middle of the American Wine Industry

In a recent interview with Liza Zimmerman at Wine Searcher, Rob Tobiassen, former Chief Attorney for the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, explains the benefits of the Three Tier System of Alcohol distribution. However, in the wide-ranging interview, Rob fails to point out one very important thing: the three-tier system of alcohol regulation is an extraordinarily archaic system of market regulation that has fallen under the control of a cabal of state-mandated and state-protected middlemen whose only interest is their…

Aug 24, 2018

Crime and Punishment in the Wine Industry

In its fierce “determination to put an end to anti-competitive practices that hurt law-abiding businesses and prevent consumers from enjoying a wide selection of products” the TTB announced that it had levied punishment upon Napa Valley’s Modus Operandi Cellars. The crime? “Consignment sales of wine to wholesalers who were not obligated to pay for the wine until after it had been sold to retailers.” The Punishment: “A one day (emphasis added) suspension of its basic permit.” I’m not suggesting that Modus…

Jul 20, 2018

New Enemy of Wine Consumers Appointed

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association (WSWA), whose values can be succinctly reduced to  “what’s good for the consumers…just doesn’t matter” has a new CEO and president in the wake of former WSWA president Craig Wolf’s resignation and venture into electoral politics. Michelle Korsmo is the new head of the trade association that represents the interests of the wholesalers. It’s good to know that she is already on board with the program: “I am also inspired by the industry’s record of…

Jul 9, 2018

Turning the Tide on Corruption in Wine, Beer and Spirit Sales

An amazing thing happened recently in, of all places, Texas. Both the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Republican Party, at their annual state platform conventions, called for the elimination or complete reform of the Three Tier System of Alcohol distribution in Texas in their individual party platforms. Credit for this rather remarkable political (and popular) victory goes to CraftPac, the political action committee of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, whose members have been denied direct access to the consumer market….

Jun 15, 2018

Wine Retailers Are Out Numbered At The Table

Every state in America has some sort of Commission, Agency, Department or Board that oversees the state’s alcohol production, distribution and sales. What’s notable about this is that alcohol is the most highly regulated industry in America. As a result, the commissioners, agents, department heads and board members almost never garner an “attaboy” from either those they regulate or those that watch them regulate. The primary problem these regulators face is they are tasked with overseeing what is in most…