Independent beer distributors representing all 50 states are in Washington, D.C., this week for the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) 2018 Legislative Conference. Attendees are educating Congress on the importance of the independent beer system, which generates competition, builds brands and increases consumer choice, while supporting good-paying jobs and economic growth in cities and states across America.
NBWA Chairman of the Board Jim Matesich opened the conference saying, “There aren’t many groups that can boast ‘all 50 states’ as far as the members they represent, but beer wholesalers aren’t just any group. We pride ourselves as being family owned and community oriented, and in today’s world, that is something of which to be proud!”
Of the nearly 700 attendees, about 150 are members of the Next Generation Group. “This is the future of the beer distribution industry, and this makes me excited about coming to work every day, and encouraged about what tomorrow will bring for our family businesses,” added Matesich.
NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser said this year’s Legislative Conference gives beer distributors an opportunity to discuss policies and ideas on a wide range of topics including effective alcohol regulation, the future of the beer distribution industry and the overall health of the beer category.
“We need to emphasize to Congress how important an open and independent system of distribution is to the American beer industry and to consumers everywhere,” Purser said. “A healthy independent distribution system delivers marketplace competition, consumer choice and economic value. Congress needs to know that it’s essential to support federal policies that reinforce effective state-based regulation.”
Purser also addressed the health of the beer category, offering three observations:
“First, we need to stop doing the same thing time after time. Second, we need to stop doing anything that doesn’t sell another case of beer. Third, brewers need to stop running each other down.”
Purser also moderated an industry panel featuring Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy; Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease; and Brandy Rand of IWSR. The group discussed ways that the industry can advance the beer category.
Beer distributors will be visiting Capitol Hill this week, where they will be asking members of Congress to:
Additionally, the legalization and regulation of marijuana was discussed. Dr. Jonathan Caulkins, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, highlighted research about marijuana usage in states and countries that have legalized marijuana.
The conference will continue on Wednesday with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) scheduled to speak.