Mississippi, like the rest of the U.S., relies on a three-tiered distribution system for the regulation of beer sales.
The three tiers are:
- Brewers and Importers
How does this distribution system work?
The three-tier system (brewers and importers, distributors, and retailers) ensures a safe and transparent regulatory system for alcoholic beverages and distributors are the cogs of that system through which federal, state, and local governments enforce their alcohol laws. The main purpose of the three-tier system is to insulate retailers from control by brewers, distillers, and vintners by placing an independent wholesaler tier between them.
This three-tier system is established in all 50 states and was put in place over 80 years ago to correct abuses created prior to Prohibition. It has produced a beer market that is efficient, highly competitive, and extremely responsive to local concerns and control. In this system, beverage alcohol manufacturers, distributors, and retailers each occupy a different level or tier.
Manufacturers (brewers) supply distributors who in turn supply retailers. Under the laws that created the three-tier system, each tier of the system is independent of the others ensuring accountability to the public as well as the benefits of healthy competition.
The separation of these tiers, particularly the independence of the distributors, supports competition within the system and prevents the formation of harmful monopolies. Retailers are protected from pressure by large national brewers to buy or not buy a particular product, and distributors are protected from any attempt by big retailers to gain price concessions not available to smaller “mom and pop” businesses. The system organization offers the best price and variety with the highest quality for consumers.
This time-tested system of responsible regulation, designed to prevent vertical integration within the alcohol industry, has served the public and the industry well by providing consumer protection against harmful sales practices, while preserving competition, low prices and wide consumer choice.
What is the benefit for my community and me to have a three-tier distribution system for beer?
You are rewarded with a greater beer and ale selection and quality with great price points. Your family has the pleasure to live in a marketplace free from overly aggressive alcohol marketing and your children benefit from alcohol education and awareness programs provided by MBDA and its member distributors. In addition, your community operates in an effective, regulated system providing strong employment and civic support while reaping the benefits of valuable tax revenues provided by beer distribution regardless of where you live, whether your county is wet or dry.
How does my neighborhood bar, restaurant, convenience or grocery store owner benefit from the three-tier system?
They enjoy greater freshness, excellent product rotation, top pricing, efficient inventory management, and assistance in stocking and tax compliance reporting.
Click here to watch videos about the three-tier system and it’s benefits