THE THREE-TIER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
Wine in America is sold through a three-tier distribution system that was created when Prohibition was repealed. Designed to protect against organized crime monopolies, this system requires each tier to hold a different kind of license and to play a different role in the production and distribution of wine.
In brief, Tier 1 sells the wine to Tier 2, which in turn sells it to Tier 3. The consumer finally buys the wine from Tier 3. The three tiers are:
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