The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) joined America’s 3,000-plus licensed, independent beer distributors to celebrate the craft beer industry this week in honor of American Craft Beer Week – May 14 through May 20.
“This week is an opportunity to celebrate the craft beer industry that continues to provide significant contributions to the American economy,” says NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser. “NBWA is proud of the role that America’s independent beer distributors play to help build small craft brands in communities nationwide and are thrilled at the excitement local brews have brought to the beer category overall.”
Purser highlighted the partnerships between craft brewers and local distributors that have helped strengthen the craft beer segment. He noted that distributors have invested heavily in state-of-the-art warehouses, fleets of temperature-controlled vehicles, and creative marketing teams that have helped support new brews across the country.
Each year, NBWA celebrates these partnerships with the Brewer Partner of the Year Awards. The awards recognize brewers who produce great beer, provide valuable education and offer support to their distributor customers who deliver their beers to market. Nominations for the Brewer Partner of the Year Awards are open now through June 29.
“Through independent distribution networks and marketing strategies, beer wholesalers introduce and promote their craft brew partners to retailers, bars and restaurants nationwide,” Purser says. “This model not only gives smaller brewers the same exposure as larger brands, it also allows all brewers to focus on what they do best – making delicious beer.”
Purser pointed to a report by the Boston Consulting Group which suggested that today’s system of alcohol distribution creates an open and competitive market for brewers of all sizes. According to the report, “small brewers’ ability to reach more drinkers has been enabled by the open U.S. beer-distribution system – a system that was once thought to lock out smaller players.”
Data from the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury show that in 1980s there were fewer than 50 breweries in the United States. Today there are over 6,000, a 120-fold increase.
“The 135,000 men and women in the beer distribution industry are proud to be part of craft beer’s success,” Purser says, noting that distributors work across the country as truck drivers, inventory specialists, marketing professionals, and sales representatives, among others. “As we raise our glasses this week to our favorite beers and brewers, let’s also give a nod to the local distributors who keep those beer taps and store shelves stocked with our favorite products.