Understanding the U.S. market for alcohol beverages, including beer, requires an understanding of the three-tier system. Whether viewed with deep reverence or great scorn, it is a system of distribution that delivers the vast majority of beer to the mouths of thirsty American drinkers. Let’s take a few moments to understand that system a little

Hard cider has shown phenomenal growth in the past several years.  With rising consumer demand, more and more craft brewers are entering this rapidly expanding market. Although hard cider is typically distributed and mar­keted like a beer product, the federal gov­ernment and most states actually tax and regulate cider as a type of wine.  Brewers

The craft distilling movement is growing rapidly. Indeed, the tor­rid pace of new distillery openings and the boundless enthusiasm of new entrants seem strangely reminiscent of craft brewing (then “microbrewing”) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Craft dis­tillers even have a simmering product in­tegrity issue (the use of purchased neutral spirits) that splits the

Most people working for a U.S. packaging brewery are aware of so-called beer “franchise” laws.  Such legislation—enacted in some form in most U.S. states—limits or restricts the abil­ity of a brewer to change distributors.  The author leaves for another article any discussion of the fairness and logic of such enactments.  For now, this article explores

Last month the Supreme Court of Ohio helped clarify an oft-litigated feature of the state’s beer and wine “franchise” law.  Like most such enactments, Ohio’s franchise law (the “Ohio Alcoholic Beverages Franchise Act”) generally requires a manufacturer or importer to show “cause” in order to terminate an Ohio distributor.  But a provision of the law