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The Value of Independent Beer Distributors

Local economies competing on a global scale

How can small, budgetary constrained domestic and imported craft beer manufacturers gain access to the most expensive real estate in America? The answer – America’s Beer Distributors. Beer Distributors maximize existing relationships and synergies allowing placement of domestic and Imported craft beer on the shelves and taps at retail, next to the industry's largest competitors. America’s independent beer distributors deliver regulatory, economic, and commercial value in the communities where they do business.

Today, the United States distribution system supplies consumers with the safest alcohol in the world. Beer distributors can clearly track the product from when it leaves the brewery or importer until it reaches a retailer. Because of this efficient “chain of custody,” U.S. consumers don’t see the widespread counterfeit and poisonous alcohol that proves dangerous in other countries.


Beer distributors service every state and congressional district in the U.S. and provide rewarding jobs to 95,000 hardworking men and women who start the engines on beer trucks long before the sun comes up.  Distributors around the country know the importance of fighting underage drinking and drunk driving in our communities. They regularly sponsor responsibility initiates including safe ride home programs and speakers at local high schools. For more information, visit



Regulatory Value

Beer is an alcoholic beverage, and the potential misuse requires regulation. Beer distributors operate within a time-tested regulatory system. Beer Distributors did not create the current regulatory three tier structure, but we are required to abide by it. We are licensed by both state and federal governments, and we are accountable for the local implementation and compliance with laws that promote moderate consumption and preserve public safety.



  • Did not create the Three Tier System, but the Government did it to prevent one tier from having an interest in another tier, also called “tied houses,” and to balance business needs and market growth with public health and safety concerns.

  • Abide by trade practice laws which reflect local customs and community interests.

  • Act as the lynchpin of the three-tier system (brewers and importers; distributors; retailers) through which federal, state, and local governments enforce their alcohol laws.

  • Protect against illegal distribution of alcoholic beverages by ensuring that sales and deliveries are made to licensed retailers only.

  • Provide accountability by tracking products with detailed records that make transparent the chain of custody of alcohol beverages from suppliers to retailers.

  • Ensure the collection of state and local taxes and licensing fees in many states.


Economic Value

Beer Distributors deliver direct economic benefit to the communities we serve through quality local jobs, local business-to-business commerce, local investments, and local tax revenue. We contribute indirect economic benefit by providing services that improve efficiency, choice and profits for trading partners, plus fair prices for consumers.




  • Provide more than 130,000 quality full-time jobs and benefits.

  • Provide local knowledge and relationships, logistics and supply expertise that optimizes efficiency for all trading partners. We add value for all breweries and retailers as we carry costs such as inventory, transportation expenses, quality assurance, marketing, etc.

  • Stimulate the local economy with investments in infrastructure and capital assets.

  • Provide a sustained economic multiplier effect through income taxes, property taxes, excise taxes and fees and consumer spending.

  • Ensure that business income produced by the community remains in the community in the form of jobs, investment, commerce, philanthropic activity, and support of state and local governments.

  • Provide leadership and financial support for local community, civic and philanthropic initiatives.


Commercial Value

Historically, Beer Distributors have been the “silent partner” to the beer industry, preferring to build the brands they represent. Independant distributors provide efficient access to market for ALL beer brands to ALL licensed retailers, enabling consumers to choose from an unparalleled selection of beer.




  • Provide access to market for all brewers and importers to more than 500,000 licensed retail accounts across the country.

  • Uphold territorial integrity and franchise laws, which protect distributors’ independence and support small producers.

  • Help brewers maximize sales and build brands through store level merchandising, product promotion, marketing initiatives and local event sponsorships.

  • Ensure predictable product availability for licensed retailers through delivery frequency, warehousing, inventory management, space management programs and category management advice.

  • Enhance retailers’ profitability by educating retailers and consumers about new product categories, beer styles and ways to best enjoy beer.

  • Maximizing product choice for consumers by selling a vast array of beer brands and styles.

  • Working with the brewery or Importer to safeguard product quality and integrity, quickly identifying and removing any sub-standard or unsafe products from the marketplace.

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