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The Three-Tier System and Control States

*Three-Tier System and Control States. The 21st Amendment granted broad powers and authority to the states to regulate the sale and distribution of alcohol within their borders. Each state created its own system of beverage alcohol control. These systems fall within one of two general classifications, generally referred to as "Licensed States" and "Control States." Most states are Licensed States and adopted a three-tier system generally requiring beverage alcohol producers to sell their products to a state licensed wholesaler who in turn sells the product to a state-licensed retailer.

*Control States. Eighteen states and two counties in Maryland where the state is the sole wholesaler of spirits within their borders and, in the majority of these Control states, the state also is the retailer of bottled spirits sold in its state stores. Click here for a listing of these "control" states.

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