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How screwed up is three-tier? Plenty, as Missouri can attest

Missouri three-tier system

The three-tier system is about money, and not the consumer. Right, Missouri?

Alcohol is distributed through the three-tier system in the U.S., and is constitutionally protected, thanks to several Supreme Court decisions, just like freedom of speech and religion. But that doesn’t mean it deserves that protection.

This was amply demonstrated in Missouri this spring. The state legislature debated a bill that would have restored a law that a federal judge had thrown out, suffered through a filibuster in the state Senate, and almost scuttled much needed legislation to decriminalize home brewing.

None of this effort was intended to benefit consumers, and none of it did. Instead, it was a fight between one distributor, its biggest competitor, and the world’s largest booze companies to redistribute their constitutionally-protected share of the nine-figure Missouri wine, beer and spirits market.

Or, as one eyewitness told me: “It’s chaos.” More, after the jump:

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