Just how important is wholesale distribution to the beer industry? For starters, it was a key in ending Prohibition. Most blamed the deplorable state of the alcohol industry pre-Prohibition to its vertical, monopolized integration. After it became clear that banning alcohol was not going to work, the 21st Amendment constructed a three-tier system aimed at keeping alcohol producers from selling directly to the public and abusing the system (while allowing the U.S government to collect orderly taxes).
How well do you understand this system? Well, this video via the National Beer Wholesalers Association is here to tell you all about it. While the video calls distributors the indispensable buffer between brewers and retailers (a controversial point to some brewers), it does give a nice 30,000-foot overview for folks just learning. It also makes some good points about ideal independent distributors, which allow all sized brewers equal distribution and the ability to understand and service local retailers. Watch it above and give us your opinions below.