What is a Beer and Wine Distributor?

Idaho’s beer and wine distributors provide transportation, refrigerated storage and maintenance for beer and wine, which are perishable products, from the time it leaves a brewery or winery until it arrives at a retailer such as your neighborhood restaurant or grocery store.

Beer and Wine Distributors Work Within an Effective State-Based System of Alcohol Regulation
Idaho’s beer and wine distributors are licensed by both the state and the federal government. They source beer and wine only from licensed importers, brewers, and wineries and they sell only to licensed retailers. Alcohol is not like toilet paper or toothpaste and is not regulated the same way as other products. Alcohol is also the subject of two constitutional amendments. State-based regulation of alcohol, which was established by the 21st Amendment, allows each state the flexibility to deal with local needs, demands and circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach to alcohol regulation does not work. People in Nevada feel very differently about alcohol than those in Idaho. The 21st Amendment was designed to reflect local thought on the level of regulation needed for alcohol, and beer and wine distributors work hand-in-hand with Idaho regulators to further the state’s approaches to regulation.

Contribute Significantly to the U.S. Economy
Beer and wine distributors employ approximately 2,251 hardworking Idahoans who earn good wages and receive employer-provided benefits. For state breakdowns of the economic contributions of beer distributors and the beer industry, visit www.beerservesamerica.org. (Please note this website only considers the economic impact of beer products and excludes wine and other non-alcoholic beverages which Idaho distributors distribute.)

Deliver the Most Variety in the World
Beer and wine distributors secure beer from a wide variety of manufacturers small and large, domestic and international. They are the vehicle to market for the largest multinational brands to the smallest local craft brews and wineries. Distributors provide the infrastructure small brewers and vintners need to reach a wide network of retailers. Consumers benefit by having the choice between the largest international brands and the smallest local brands, all on the same store shelf or restaurant. Today, thousands of types and styles of beer and wine products are available to Idaho consumers at great value.

Keep the Perishable Product Safe and Fresh
Distributor’s infrastructure includes state-of-the-art warehouses and fleets of temperature-controlled trucks and vehicles, combined with the warehousing, delivery, driver and merchandising personnel. They preserve the perishable products in a temperature controlled warehouse. Distributors then deliver customized inventory based on the requirements of each individual retailer. After delivery, the distributor continues to monitor retailer shelves, taps and keg lines to ensure consumers are receiving the freshest product.

Create a Clear Chain of Custody
Beer and wine distributors provide a clear chain of custody in the sale of beer and wine. They source alcohol only from licensed importers, brewers, and vintners and sell only to licensed retailers. This system helps to ensure that retailers hold the appropriate license, do not sell to those under the legal drinking age, pay state and local taxes and generally comply with local alcohol beverage laws.

Protect Consumers
The clear chain of custody created by the state-based system of alcohol regulation and distribution protects American consumers from counterfeit and poisonous alcohol that is prevalent in many other countries. You don’t see alarming headlines like these in the U.S.

  • 40,000 Russians die annually of poisonous alcohol
  • Nearly 60% of liquor found in Chinese cities is fake
  • 125 Die in India after drinking illicit liquor

American consumers enjoy unequaled safety thanks to the state-based alcohol distribution system in which beer and wine distributors are a critical link.

Help Collect Taxes
The same regulations that provide accountability in beer and wine sales also ensures Idaho can efficiently collect taxes on alcohol products. Because they retain the ability to monitor the sale of the products from the time the beer or wine leaves the brewery or winery until it arrives at a licensed retail outlet, distributors are often best equipped to collect state taxes. It is easier for Idaho to collect taxes from a limited number of Idaho licensed beer distributors than the thousands of retail establishments in their state that sell alcohol products or breweries or wineries that produce and import products into Idaho.

Promote Responsibility and Community Involvement
Beer and wine distributors are leaders in their communities as small business owners, civic activists, parents, community leaders and philanthropists. Beer and wine distributors play a vital role in their communities by sponsoring a vast array of programs that promote responsible consumption.