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In South Carolina, Liquor Giant Targets Independent Stores​

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Apr 20, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Food & Power Blog – April 20, 2017

By Leah Douglas

A recent decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court will overturn a 72-year-old restriction on how many licenses a liquor retailer in the state can hold. The case was brought by Total Wine & More, a Maryland-based liquor retailer with over 150 “big box” stores in 20 states. Now, small retailers fear they will be forced out of business as larger companies become the dominant liquor retailers in the state. …

Liquor license caps are one of many types of state-level regulation that comprise the three-tier system. Developed after the end of Prohibition in 1933, the three-tier system requires that producers, distributors, and retailers of alcohol remain independent from one another and intends to prevent any one company from becoming too dominant in each sector.

Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, says that regulations that shore up small business, such as the license cap, tend to promote greater choice and higher quality for the drinker, as well. “The more variety and diversity in the retail part of the market, the better the chance of a diversity of products actually making it to store shelves,” she says.

Read the full story here.