NBWA Hosts Successful Legislative Conference

During 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.

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 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.”

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.”

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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 political analyst, Charlie Cook.

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