The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) has published a resource for industry, titled, “Modernizing Alcohol Regulation,” which provides a comprehensive overview of U.S. regulation of alcohol sales, the challenges within the current system, and possibly beneficial regulatory changes.

The paper describes the currently implemented three-tier system of regulation dating back to prohibition. The three-tier system’s most important feature is the legal mandate that producers and suppliers must go through middlemen wholesalers before their products may be sold at retail, while retailers may only procure inventory from the same wholesalers.

In its paper, NAWR argues that this mandate is inappropriate in 2024 and does not address contemporary issues surrounding alcohol sales and consumption. The paper proposes a new set of principles to guide a modern alcohol regulatory system, as well as proposed policies derived from those principles.