The hidden liquor distribution industry has the most political clout at the least at the state and local levels.
Fewer than 500 liquor distribution companies across the country have consolidated power and are blatantly influencing politicians with cash contributions (bribes?).
Since prohibition liquor laws, which vary from state to state, have heavily favored a system that requires most liquor stores and even restaurants to buy from a distributor rather than directly from the producer. Some of these laws require cash payments at the time of delivery and others allow for territorial monopolies that stifle competition and prevent new companies from gaining a foothold. These companies sell millions of dollars (maybe billions collectively) to local liquor stores and other retail outlets such as grocery stores, bars, and even restaurants. In some states, it is illegal to buy your liquor at a liquor store and then re-sell it at a bar or restaurant. These distributors then contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of local and/or state politicians who will keep the status quo. This is where the real money and power are on the state level.
Do we think that these distributors are working together at some level to influence the entire industry? Hell, yes! Are they lynchpins in the global beer conspiracy? You bet your sweet bippy they are!
Here’s a nice article that spells out the state of thins in Oregon