America’s beer distributors arrived in Washington, D.C., this week for the 2013 National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) Legislative Conference to advocate for effective state-based alcohol regulation and to educate members of Congress about the 130,000 quality jobs that independent beer distributors provide.
As Congress considers proposals for tax reform, America’s beer distributors’ tax priorities include advocating that any efforts to reform the tax code must be comprehensive, reducing similarly the corporate and individual rates applicable to business income.
“Our message is simple: We want to ensure that any tax reform being considered does not adversely affect small business,” said Craig Purser, president and chief executive officer of NBWA. “Corporate tax reform must not be balanced on the backs of America’s small, independent businesses like beer distributors – the very businesses that are generating jobs and making significant contributions to communities in every corner of the country.”
Beer distributors also are asking members of Congress to support state-based alcohol regulation and oppose proposals that would weaken this effective system that ensures safety, variety and value for consumers and communities across the nation. Beer distributors are advocating for a strong and fully funded federal regulator at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and encouraging members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 498, the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Reauthorization Act, which is meant to increase and better coordinate federal support for state efforts in the fight against underage drinking and to reaffirm the effective state-based regulation of alcohol.
Monday’s Legislative Conference program featured Bill Latham, director of the Center for Applied Business and Economic Research at the University of Delaware and author of the economic impact report America’s Beer Distributors: Fueling Jobs, Generating Economic Growth & Delivering Value to Local Communities. Latham described the $54 billion in economic impacts that America’s 3,300 beer distribution companies provide along with other far reaching benefits to brewers, retailers, consumers and government agencies at all levels. “Distributors make increased consumer choice possible,” Latham said.“Corporate tax reform must not be balanced on the backs of America’s small, independent businesses like beer distributors – the very businesses that are generating jobs and making significant contributions to communities in every corner of the country.” — Craig Purser, president & CEO NBWA.An industry discussion including Purser; Bill Earle, president of the National Association of Beverage Importers; Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute; and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, focused on policy issues impacting the beer industry. The main talking points of the discussion included the industry’s healthy and robust competition and the effectiveness of the independent three-tier system of beer distribution in ensuring access to market for brewers of all sizes. The association leaders also discussed how brewers and distributors can continue to work together to drive economic growth and provide American consumers with the most choice and variety of any country in the world — including 13,000 labels of beer from more than 2,400 breweries.
Robert Angelo, director of the TTB’s Trade Investigations Division; Vicky McDowell, executive director of the Presidents’ Forum of the Beverage Alcohol Industry; and Jim Squeo, president and chief executive officer of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, also addressed attendees and underscored the need to provide regulators with the resources they need to help maintain a safe and orderly market for alcohol that has served consumers and the public so well.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper spoke to attendees about their support for state-based alcohol regulation. Cooper noted, “When it comes to the sale and distribution of alcohol … states can make better decisions about how those systems should be put in place. States have different feelings about how alcohol should be sold.”
Bruning highlighted distributors’ ties in their communities and added, “The three-tier system works; we have the safest system in the world.”
Attendees also heard from Senator Tim Kaine (VA), who shared his views on the potential for bipartisan compromise in Congress and discussed his efforts as a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services to help veterans find employment — an issue that is also top of mind for many beer distribution companies.