This may be a little too meta, but one of the posts in the "Why?" thread got me thinking.

Is there a good reason for distributors to exist? I guess I can understand a bit that they served as a taxation "choke" point as there were a lot of producers and a lot of retailers, but with the way business is done today do they serve any purpose other than a middle man?

Do you think there would be any differences in the bourbon being produced if distillers could work directly with retailers, and perhaps directly with consumers?

Note: I realize being in Georgia I have basically nothing to complain about than some of you guys in controlled states, and other places with crappy distributors. But curiosity got the better of me