The 2022 Legislative Conference was NBWA’s first in-person fly-in since 2019.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, April 3-6, over 500 independent beer distributors from across the country attended the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) first in-person Legislative Conference since 2019. During the conference, beer distributors met with over 300 Capitol Hill offices to advocate on issues impacting the beer industry and their businesses, including the importance of the three-tier system, ongoing challenges related to workforce retention and recruitment as well as differentiation between types of alcohol.
Beer distributors employ more than 140,000 hardworking Americans. These quality jobs offer good compensation and benefits and provide great opportunity for growth and professional development. Distribution employees safely and responsibly handle and deliver alcohol products, protecting public health and making sure local laws are followed.
During his remarks, NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser reflected on the value the beer industry provided the country during the pandemic and the importance of coming together after the past two years. “Brewers, distributors and retailers worked overtime to ensure that Americans had some sense of normalcy during a very abnormal time. You proved you were essential. And I think we saw yet another demonstration of the value added by NBWA and state associations,” he said.
One of the key issues discussed during the conference was the differentiation between beer, wine and spirits. Standing alongside Purser, NBWA Chairman of the Board, Peter Heimark noted, “The RTD spirits category is growing dramatically, consumers are finding the beverages they desire, and beer distributors are helping get those beverages on shelves. But a cocktail served at a bar and a cocktail served in a can are the same product – the packaging should not change the federal tax rate. This issue of differentiation is one of the important priorities that we’ll be educating our policymakers about.”
Heimark is also the President/CEO of Heimark Distributing, LLC in California.
NBWA Board Secretary Rebecca Maisel spoke about two NBWA initiatives to empower and support leadership within the beer distribution industry: NBWA’s Next Generation Group and Building Relationships and Empowering Woman or BREW.
“In the beverage business, everyone knows that women are the primary purchasers of our products. But ironically, women have often been an afterthought for industry inclusion — especially among leadership ranks,” Maisel said. “That has to end today if we want to remain competitive. The imperative for our industry is clear: get more women involved at higher levels.”
Conference attendees also heard from a group of industry experts, John Bodnovich, Executive Director of American Beverage Licensees; Justin Kissinger, CEO of Worldwide Brewing Alliance; Jim McGreevy, CEO of the Beer Institute, as well as David M. Wulf, Deputy Administrator, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and renowned political analyst, Charlie Cook.
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors who service every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Licensed at the federal and state levels, beer distributors get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to stores, restaurants and other licensed retail accounts through a transparent and accountable regulatory system. Distributors build brands of all sizes – from familiar domestic beers to new startup labels and imports from around the world – and generate enormous consumer choice while supporting more than 140,000 quality jobs in their home communities. Beer distributors work locally to keep communities safe by sponsoring programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and reduce underage drinking.