INDUSTRY & TECH | NBWA: America's Beer Distributors

Safely and Efficiently Providing American Consumers with the Most Choice and Variety in the World

Since the ratification of the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition more than 75 years ago, the modern system of beer distribution has efficiently provided American consumers with immense choice and variety; provided retailers with customized inventory; encouraged a competitve marketplace - giving brewers large and small equal access to consumers; allowed the states to regulate where and how alcohol is sold; and kept American consumers safe from counterfeit and poisonous alcohol found in other countries around the world by not in the U.S. Beer distributors provide transportation, refrigerated storage and maintenance for perishable beer from the time it leaves the brewer until it arrives at the retailer. After delivery, the distributor continues to monitor retailer shelves to ensure product freshness and integrity. Should a problem with the product ever arise, distributors can quickly track the product and remove it from store shelves.

This beer distribution system provides the best method for smaller breweries to get their beers into a diverse marketplace and provides small retailers and consumers the best variety of choice and value of beer. It has given consumers and retailers unparallel access to a tremendous variety of beers.

The distribution system also provides a clear chain of custody and accountability in the sale of malt beverage products, making it easier to police and penalize establishments that are found guilty of serving to underage patrons or otherwise violating the terms of their liquor license.

The same regulations that provide accountability in malt beverage sales also ensure states can efficiently collect taxes on alcohol products. Because they retain the ability to monitor the sale of the products from the time the beer leaves the brewery until it arrives at a licensed retail outlet, distributors are often best equipped to collect state taxes and many states find it easier to collect taxes from a limited number of federally licensed beer distributors than the hundreds or thousands of retail establishments in their state that sell alcohol products.