Beer Distribution

There are more than 3,000 independent beer distribution facilities that operate as local businesses in every state and district in the United States.  They buy, sell, store and deliver new brands to the market place.  Beer distributors operate in a three-tier system of alcohol distribution that was implemented after the end of Prohibition.  These three-tiers consist of producers, distributors and retailers.  This system limits the distribution cycle so the producers sell their product to a wholesaler who then sell it to the market preventing direct distribution.  A benefit of the distribution system is traceability- if there is a problem in the supply chain then distributors can quickly track the product and push or pull it from the market when needed.  The system also helps the states’ ability to collect taxes.  Figuring out a distribution strategy is a major concern for craft breweries, and it plays a pivotal role in their long-term approach.


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