The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
By David White
The opinions expressed are his own.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway recently purchased Tennessee's largest alcoholic beverage distributor. This move comes just months after Berkshire Hathaway also acquired liquor distributors in Georgia and North Carolina.
This is a bad sign for consumers. It's yet more proof that America's anachronistic system of alcohol distribution is here to stay. This system -- which exists only because of government regulations -- stifles consumer choice and keeps prices artificially high.
The laws that keep consumers away from alcohol date back to prohibition. When the "Noble Experiment" was repealed in 1933, states were given the power to regulate alcohol within their borders. Some chose to take over the sale and distribution of alcohol. But just about every other state created a "wholesale tier" to sit between producers and consumers.
In part, this was at the urging of temperance activists and retailers. Prohibitionists blamed producers for all the ills associated with drunkenness. Restaurants and liquor stores didn't like the power that producers could wield. By creating a middle tier, lawmakers hoped to weaken the influence of brewers and distillers. Instead, they simply made wholesalers incredibly powerful.
- John A. Cunningham is Canada research chair in brief interventions for addictive behaviours, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a professor at the University of Toronto. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Whether you live in Britain, Canada, the U.S. or one of many other countries around the world, alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of preventable death.
from UK News:
His annual report calls for a minimum price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol sold, which would nearly double the price of some discount beer and wine. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also shown interest in minimum pricing.