The main reason some of the country’s best beers can’t be had within state borders is because Tennessee has a 17 percent beer wholesale tax. Tennessee, like much of the country, has a three-tier system of alcohol distribution. Producers of alcohol must sell their wares to a wholesaler, which then sells it to a retailer. Brewpubs are exempt from this system in the state, but breweries are not. This results in the somewhat absurd scenario in which breweries that want to sell their own beer on site, or simply provide tastings, must first sell their beer to a wholesale distributor and then buy it back. After paying that 17 percent tax.
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