1933 - The 3-Tiered System

In the aftermath of Prohibition and the resumption of legal brewing, the government had to consider appropriate regulation of the beer industry. Some of the larger breweries had amassed capital and were poised to dominate all aspects of the industry. There was concern regarding monopolistic practices, specifically, that the large breweries would attempt to take over all components of the beer trade, from making it to selling it. If, for example, a large brewery bought up all the bars in an area, they could force the bars to only sell that brewery’s beer. In an effort to forestall such practices, Pennsylvania and most other states adopted a 3-tier system, under which those who made the beer could not be the ones to distribute the beer or sell it at the retail level. The 3-tier system did not delay the growing dominance of the big breweries and the restrictions would become problematic decades later when craft brewers looked to establish brewpubs, which implicitly involve both making and selling beer directly to consumers.

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