View Full Version : Bourbon Distribution?

07-19-2003, 09:55
I'm curious how the product goes from the distiller to me.

Do the companies sell directly to large liqour stores likes Sams? or do they go through brokers or reps? What about in the 18 "control states" that run their own liquor stores? - a good link to these states is NABCA (http://www.nabca.org).

I recently compiled a bourbon database (http://www.dinkwad.com/bourbon.xls) and compared some prices. I was very suprised that for the most part the state run (WA state) liquor board where I live had fairly competive prices. How tight of controls are placed on suggested retail prices by the manafacturers?

07-19-2003, 10:50
>I'm curious how the product goes from the distiller to me.
>Do the companies sell directly to large liqour stores likes Sams? or do they go
>through brokers or reps?

The short answer:

Just about every aspect of anything having to do with alcohol, especially
distilled spirits, is subject to the craziest laws you've ever heard in
your life, both at the federal and state levels. I would hazard a guess
that the paperwork is easier for building an atomic bomb than it is
for making bourbon and selling it to your next door neighbor.

Each state decides how it handles alcohol sales, and most have opted for a
"three tier" distribution system, whereby manufacturers have to sell to
licensed distributors, distributors have to sell to licensed retailers,
and (for the most part) they only people allowed to sell to you are
the retailers. And there are plenty of taxes at each step.

Other states have opted to have state-run stores, which have some
benefits and some drawbacks.

07-19-2003, 16:51
don't forget that in many states the prices are controlled as are the number of stores and their location . all of this is done with the notion that it prevents overconsumption. In ,many states a abc store that is part of a larger store still must have its own entrance,so you can't accidently be exposed to the 'demon rum'

07-19-2003, 17:10
Just to add a little to what others have said, in control states the state either handles just the distribution and the retailers are private, or the state is both distributor and retailer. When I was growing up in Ohio, anything above 40 proof was available only at "state stores." The state was the sole distributor and retailer. Now in Ohio, the retailers are private but the state is still the exclusive distributor and also sets retail prices.

Even some non-control states control retail prices, at least setting a minimum. There are many other regulations, which vary from state to state, in terms of marketing practices, business hours, etc.

The only influence manufacturers have over prices is the price they charge distributors. The manufacturers would love to have a more "free market" system, except that a more open system might invite more competition and the established companies don't have to worry so much about that now.

07-19-2003, 23:48
all of this is done with the notion that it prevents overconsumption

its funny how Ohio says this and yet become more and more dependant on the liquor taxes to fill the state coffers. . . .

Hmmmm. . .


07-20-2003, 10:46
George Orwell coined a word for the ability to hold contradictory beliefs simultaneously, "doublethink".

In psych jargon it's "cognitive dissonance".

In the movie, 2001 -- A Space Odessey, the HAL 9000 computer became psychotic because (as revealed in the movie sequel) it was required to perform that feat.

I've always had a sneaking suspicion that human brains are similarly affected.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

07-20-2003, 12:16
yep. you can't collect the 'sin tax' and also eliminate the 'sinner'

07-20-2003, 14:05
...And while we're on the subject of meaningless trivia, try adding 1 to the ASCII value of each letter in HAL and see what you get.

Do you see it ... Dave?

07-20-2003, 17:58
Cool, I never noticed that before.

07-21-2003, 11:00

As someone who saw 2001SO in original release (unaffected by chemicals, I must add) and helped to make it the cult classic that it is, I can only say, "Elementary, my dear [Thomas J.] Watson!" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield