Michelle Minton, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Fellow who specializes in alcohol regulation, said although all the states but Washington have a “three-tiered” system for alcohol distribution, the exceptions allowed can vary from state to state.
Minton said the controversy surrounding SB 1714, which would have breweries buying their own bottled beer back without it even leaving their premises, “really highlights the stranglehold that wholesalers have over the regulatory process of beer sales” in Florida.
If craft brewers want to grow their business outside of their state, they still need wholesalers, Minton said. She said wholesalers provide the trucks as well as the connections to bars and restaurants to get the beer sold in the retail market.
But Minton said the decision to use wholesalers should be voluntary. That would introduce a lot of competition and lower prices for consumers, she said.