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Craft Beer Times | Outdated Law Hinders Ohio Craft Brewers, Limiting Consumer Choice

Outdated Law Hinders Ohio Craft Brewers, Limiting Consumer Choice

Outdated Law Hinders Ohio Craft Brewers, Limiting Consumer Choice

Ohio Craft Brewers: Outdated Law Limits Consumer Choice


Ohio has been experiencing a craft beer revolution in recent years, with small independent breweries popping up all over the state. These craft brewers have been successfully delivering unique and flavor-packed brews to Ohioans, but they claim that an outdated law is stifling their growth and limiting consumer choice.

The Three-Tier System

At the heart of the issue is Ohio’s three-tier system, which was established after the prohibition era to prevent monopolies and maintain fair competition in the alcohol industry. The system divides the industry into three tiers: producers (breweries), distributors (wholesalers), and retailers (bars, restaurants, and stores).

The Problem with Distribution

Under the current law, breweries in Ohio are required to sell their beer to a distributor, who then sells it to retailers. This means that the breweries lose control over how their product is marketed and sold. It also introduces additional costs and fees, resulting in higher prices for consumers.

Lost Opportunities for Breweries

Many craft brewers argue that this system limits their ability to experiment and innovate. Due to the complexities of the three-tier system, breweries find it challenging to distribute limited or specialty releases to consumers directly. This deprives beer enthusiasts of the opportunity to try new and unique offerings from their local breweries.

Impact on Consumer Choice

The outdated law in Ohio restricts consumers’ ability to access a diverse range of craft beers. While some breweries manage to navigate the system and get their products on shelves and tap handles, many others struggle to break into the market dominated by larger, more established brands. This lack of choice ultimately affects consumers who are eager to support local businesses and taste the innovative creations of small-scale brewers.

Efforts for Change

The craft brewing community in Ohio has been advocating for a change in the law to give breweries more opportunities for direct sales, thereby increasing consumer choice. They argue that allowing breweries to sell products on-site, at farmers’ markets, and through limited self-distribution channels would lead to a more vibrant and diverse craft beer industry in the state.

The Economic Impact

The economic benefits of relaxing the regulations on craft breweries cannot be ignored. Craft beer tourism has been growing rapidly throughout the country, attracting visitors to local breweries, taprooms, and brewpubs. By allowing breweries to flourish and expand, Ohio stands to gain in terms of job creation, tax revenue, and increased tourism.


The craft beer scene in Ohio is booming, but its potential is hindered by an outdated law that limits consumer choice. By reforming the three-tier system, Ohio can empower its craft brewers to continue innovating and serving unique beers directly to consumers. With the support of the community and policymakers, Ohio has the opportunity to build a thriving craft beer industry that benefits both the local economy and beer enthusiasts across the state.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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