In case you really want to know

Since Prohibition ended, most states, including Tennessee, have followed the three-tier system where producers sell to wholesalers (a.k.a. distributors), wholesalers sell to retailers, and retailers sell to consumers of legal drinking age. Retailers and consumers are not allowed to buy directly from producers — with some exceptions for direct shipment of wine in certain states.

The wine and liquor industry obviously believes the system works and creates a safe and orderly marketplace.

Author Douglas Glen Whitman offers a different view in his book Strange Brew: Alcohol and Government Monopoly. Whitman claims the three-tier system reduces competition, centers too much power in the hands of wholesalers, and leads to higher prices for consumers.


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