The Three-Tier System

The passage of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1933 repealed Prohibition in the United States and also – for the first time – granted wide authority to the individual states to regulate the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages within their borders. The Three-Tier System of independent alcohol distribution was born to separate suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Ohio, like 18 other states, is a control state with complete control of beverages containing 21 percent or more alcohol. The Ohio Division of Liquor Control, part of the Department of Commerce, manages everything from purchasing to inventory, setting prices and appointing retailers (agency stores).