This month marks a great time for America to raise a glass and sip a cold beer. Yes, the summer season kicks off next weekend, meaning beer will be the perfect beverage for backyard cookouts and baseball games. And just last week, the country celebrated American Craft Beer Week. Seems like a good time to come together and have a beer. As Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said at the repeal of National Prohibition, “What Americans need now…is a drink.”
The beer industry truly is worth celebrating. Back in the 1980s, there were fewer than 50 breweries spread out across the country, according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Tax and Trade Bureau. Today, there are over 6,000 breweries! That’s incredible growth for any industry and is a real testament to the innovators who have launched new companies and new beer brands. The great beer minds of the past several decades have sparked a refreshed interest in the beer category as a whole.
But passion alone doesn’t make a beer successful. It takes partnerships. Brewers work together with independent distributors who know the market, the customers, and the retailers where beer is sold – at the grocery stores, restaurants, and bars. Independent distributors have proven to be an integral member of the team when it comes to satisfying enthusiastic customers clamoring for the latest hops trend.
In fact, the Boston Consulting Group found that while the American marketplace for beer is “freely competitive, and driven by consumer choice,” craft 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.” The BCG report went on to explain that “this open distribution system enables small brewers to avoid significant…costs to entry, while also gaining deep access to large and small retailers.”
And that makes sense. Beer distributors and their investment are the most efficient method of delivery, product choice, and value to the 60,000 plus retailers across the 50 states. Distributors, often working behind the scenes, invest heavily in the infrastructure that keeps beer flowing – from large storage facilities to fleets of refrigerated trucks to the cutting-edge marketing strategies that introduce new beers to the market in the first place. A good beer – from start to finish – must reflect the passion of the producer and the commitment of dedicated distributors who know their local consumers’ tastes and preferences.
During this celebratory time, I want to commend brewers of all sizes who are invigorating the entire beer segment with excitement across the country. It’s a good day to have a beer. Cheers!
Craig Purser is President and CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) in Alexandria, VA.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.