Abstract: The Rebirth of Brewing and Distilling in the United States in 1933: Government Policy and Industry Structure

K. Austin Kerr


Brewing and distilling were large industries, banished under American prohibition laws, that were reborn with the repeal of prohibition in 1933. Government policy, however, shaped the structure of those industries. After rejecting government ownership of the distilling industry, Roosevelt's New Deal used the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to impose for alcoholic beverages a three-tiered distribution system of manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing, a system that has persisted to this day. The three-tiered system was thought to answer the need to have some control over the marketing of alcoholic beverages (all modern societies exercise such controls) without being overly intrusive. This paper explains the considerations behind the establishment of a three-tiered distribution system for alcoholic beverages.

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