Do Not Mandate The Middleman
I have nothing against middlemen nor beer distributors. In fact, I rather like beer distributors. I intend to consume their product at Blueberry Hill for my birthday tonight. I love Guns ‘n Hoses and have had a great time when I have attended. Heck, I even have a Googleganger in the industry. (Note, providing a link to the Googleganger totally defeats the substance of having one.)
That said, I just cannot believe that the latest attempts to preserve the three-tiered alcohol system by further tightening the regulations will be productive. Missouri Senate Bill 412, SB 365, and House Bill 759 will involve the government further in the alcohol industry, and I do not think that is necessary. Look, we can all agree that there should be some government regulation of the alcohol industry: age limits, DWI laws, basic liquor licenses. However, I think that preventing a producer from having even a small interest in a distributor goes way too far, as do the rest of these proposed legislative changes. Producers should be able to, more or less, have the same freedom to get their product in front of final consumers as any other business. As the title suggests, the government should not mandate the use of a middleman.
All that said, I have no doubt that most producers will still continue to use distributors in this industry. The distributors have the contacts, the relationships, the networks, and the equipment to get the product to the market. However, the choice to use a distributor should be a voluntary activity as part of a free-market economy, not a government mandate.