Fermenting Change — The Book

Pre-Order at Amazon - $11.99

The Politics, Corruption and Reform of the Three-Tier System of Alcohol Regulation -

Available for download at Amazon.

Nearly 90 years ago, state lawmakers created a new form of alcohol distribution in the wake of repeal of Prohibition. The so-called "Three-Tier System" was designed to prevent a series of problems that existed more than 100 years ago that helped bring about Prohibition in America. Yet despite those problems of 100 years ago no longer existing, the Three-Tier System still governs how alcohol is distributed and sold in the United States. The result is an archaic form of alcohol regulation that severely retards industry innovation, significantly reduces consumer access to products, and results in rent-seeking measures by the industry's largest players.

"Fermenting Change" is a short examination of the politics and corruption of the Three-Tier System of alcohol distribution by a 30-year insider of the alcohol industry. A strident critique of the alcohol distribution system in the U.S., Fermenting Change also proposes an alternative system of alcohol distribution and sales that speaks to the 21st-century culture, society, and economy, rather than problems of the early 20th century that no longer exist.


1. The Three Tier System: What it is and what it is not 

2. The Origins and Justification for the Three-Tier System of Alcohol Regulation 

3. The Evolution of the Three-Tier System 

4. The Three-Tier System, Product Diversity, and Consumer Access to Products 

5. Gatekeeping and Rent-Seeking in the Three-Tier System 

6. The Politics of the Three-Tier System 

7. The Constitution and the Three-Tier System 

8. Regulation Today Around the Three-Tier System 

9. An Alternative to the Three-Tier System 

10. Final Thoughts on the Three-Tier System 


Tom Wark is a 30-year veteran of the alcohol beverage industry, a noted industry commentator, and activist on behalf of regulatory reform in the alcohol beverage industry. Since 1900 he has worked with private companies as well as federal add state trade associations helping them craft strategic messaging and carry out marketing campaigns, public relations, and media relations efforts. In 2004 Wark began publishing FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog in which he commented on the business, media, and regulatory structure of the alcohol beverage industry. Since 2007 he has also held the position of executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers, a national trade association advocating for expanded retailer shipping rights and reform of the three-tier system of alcohol regulation. Wark is a regular participant on industry-related panels, serves as an expert witness in 21st Amendment-related lawsuits and is commonly quoted in the media on issues surrounding the alcohol beverage industry. Tom lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife Kathy and son Henry. He continues to operate his consulting firm Wark Communications and regularly writes at his Substack newsletter, Fermentation.

Pre-Order at Amazon - $11.99