Posts tagged movies
Posts tagged movies
The movie essentially breaks down the business of beer and how the big wigs (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) have controlled the industry forever but now craft local and regional beers (Dogfish Head, O’Connors, Beach Brewery - last two being local Hampton Roads breweries) are breaking through and taking a portion of the market share.
The thing that blew my mind was the process of distribution of beers and what they call a “three tier system.”
Maybe I do live under a rock for real, but I had never even thought about how beers and liquor get to the stores and bars. I mean, I always see the trucks but never would have put two and two together. But at the end of the day, does it really matter to me how it gets there? Nope. So long as there is a drink in my hand.
Anyway…so under this three tier system, manufacturers of your favorite beer/wine/liquor sell to licensed distributors who in turn sell to licensed retailers — restaurants and convenience, grocery and liquor stores — and then finally retailers sell alcoholic beverages to consumers. Here’s visual in case you aren’t picking up what I’m putting down…
The three tier system has been in place to control the distribution since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. The three-tier regulatory system provides for “checks and balances” in the way that alcohol is distributed and sold to retailers as well as consumers.
The three-tier system ensures that alcohol is not sold to minors or to citizens who have voted to live in “dry” areas, and it makes certain that wine, beer and spirits are not sold or delivered illegally (although I feel like the manufacturers could do the same thing but what do I know).
I felt like the movie’s central thesis was that Budweiser was in it to destroy all the little guys (as they went through history buying them all up and making it their own).
I definitely left the movie feeling some type of way about Budweiser, which is unfortunate since it is apparent that they own pretty much every beer on the market (including my fav Stella Artois).
Fortunately, after the movie was shown, there was a panel of local brew masters, distributors, and retailers who discussed it as well as the state of the three tier system in Hampton Roads. They also answered lots of questions from the movie goers. I was surprised by the variety of opinions regarding the three tier system. Some breweries were for it, saying they would much rather concentrate on creating their product then to also have to break into the market and distribute it themselves. Others were strongly against it, stressing the fact that you are relying on someone else to sell your product to the retailers and consumers.
At this point, I am indifferent on the situation because I am not involved in it. But if I were a brewer, I would absolutely want to be able to personally control the distribution of my product.
So did anyone out there actually know about this system (excluding any brew masters/distributors/restaurant owners that I may know)?
What are your thoughts on the three tier system (which, at this point, dates back 80 years)?