Tennessee recently passed a law limiting any company from owning more than two liquor-store licenses. Why? Well, current holders of liquor licenses don’t want out-of-state grocery chains to enter the market and, gasp, sell more brands of liquor at lower prices.
Would that this were an egregious exception, but such consumer-unfriendly policies are the norm. Consider some examples from around our great nation:
- In Ohio, the only liquor that gets sold are brands approved by the government. If you are a distiller, you need to ask the state to allow your hooch to cross Ohio’s borders, and you need to ask that the state liquor authority purchase your product and stock it in the state-run stores. If the bureaucrats don’t think consumers want your booze, well, you’re out of luck. Ohio, it should be noted, is but one of the 17 control states.
- The Texas Legislature has banned corporations from obtaining liquor licenses. Why? Well, as in Tennessee, the concern is that out-of-state grocers will outcompete current retailers. Texas, hypocritically, nonetheless permits in-state liquor chain stores to form by permitting family members to pool their liquor licenses.
- Most states retain rat’s nests of rules that limit consumers’ ability to buy wine from wineries in other states.
- Four states allow consumers to purchase wines made out of state directly only if their home state has a “reciprocal agreement” with the state where the winery is located.
One could go on…. (Read more at the R Street Institute Blog)