The SC Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on our craft beer agenda hit some pretty big obstacles last week when half the paid lobbyist at the statehouse stood up against us. It really is a giant mess when our small businesses have to fight against such a well funded machine and their only talking point is “this violates the three tier system?”
I have to ask – so damn what!?! What is so fundamental to our nation and state about the three tier system? I’m not even trying to tear down their precious little stranglehold on small business but at this point I just have to ask why the hell that one talking point even matters. And to be perfectly clear – only like 3 SC breweries I’ve ever talked to even wants to distribute their own beer. We like working with our distributors. We have our hands full doing what we do. The last thing we want to do is take responsibility for distributing our own beer. But so what? What if we did want to distribute our own beer? No one has given us any good reason except “it violates the three tier system.” GIVE ME REAL REASONS INSTEAD OF AN 86 YEAR OLD TALKING POINTS!
Let’s be clear about what’s happening. The wholesalers in America are desperately holding onto an antiquated system built in 1933 and it has absolutely nothing to do with craft breweries. Frankly, they don’t give a shit about us. Here’s what they care about…
- In their eyes letting craft breweries have anything at all opens up the door for the big beer companies (MillerCoors AB InBev) to get the same. Because that’s well over 90% of their income, they are using craft breweries as a wall that the big guys cannot cross.
- Because the super majority of their income comes from the big beer companies, they do what those companies say and in this case it’s making sure that craft breweries do not get a fair shake at competition.
Straight up – I know it, you know it and legislators know it – this is absolutely anti-free market. There is no reason to keep the three tier system in place except to allow one industry to control another. But we will keep playing this game and pretending that the three tier system is vital to the bedrock of Democracy. You know, it’s in the Bill of Rights… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Absolutely Control and Greed.
Just a couple decades ago before the transparency of the Internet and 24 hour cable news networks, rumor is that wholesalers kept their power through physical strength. Literally, they had hulked up drivers in communities threatening store owners, bartenders and even legislators. Or so I’ve been told by a couple Senators. They can’t do that today so instead they control by throwing their money around. It’s sickening, but that’s the reality we live in.
God Bless America and Long Live The Three Tier System.
Anyway, here’s a video update…