What is a Beer & Wine Distributor?
Oregon’s beer & wine distributors provide transportation, refrigerated storage and maintenance for beer, wine and other perishable products, from the time they leave a producer until they arrive at a retailer such as your neighborhood bar, restaurant or convenience store.
Who Are Oregon’s Beer & Wine Distributors?
Independent beer & wine distributors, licensed by both the federal and state governments, get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer, winegrower or importer to the shelf of your favorite store, local restaurant or neighborhood bar through a safe, transparent and accountable system. They work to help new brands get to market and to ensure that consumers can choose from a vast selection of beer & wine.
Oregon’s independent beer & wine distribution facilities are local businesses that provide solid jobs with good benefits to people who live in their communities.
Independent beer & wine distributors do more than buy, store, sell and deliver beer & wine. They also are small business owners, civic leaders, parents and philanthropists who are active in their communities. Distributors play a vital role in working to keep the communities where they live and work safe by sponsoring a wide array of programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and work to eliminate underage drinking. Distributors also value their role in the state-based system of alcohol regulation that works to keep communities and citizens safe while encouraging healthy competition and a robust marketplace.
What Is the Independent Three-Tier System of Alcohol Distribution?
America’s independent beer & wine distributors are a critical link in a three-tier distribution system. Distributors are regulated by the states and provide a tremendous variety of brands and styles to licensed retailers at a great value while protecting the public. The three-tier system is made up of brewers, winegrowers, importers, distributors and retailers.
Benefits of the Three-Tier System and Distributors
Generating Healthy Competition and a Robust Marketplace
Distributors source product from a wide variety of importers and manufacturers. By working with numerous producers, distributors provide a vehicle to market for the largest multinational brands to start-up craft brands.
The three-tier system provides the infrastructure, capital and personnel small brewers & winegrowers need to reach a wide network of retailers. Distributors’ infrastructure includes state-of-the-art warehouses and fleets of temperature-controlled trucks and vehicles that preserve these perishable products. Distributor personnel include not only employees that handle warehousing, transporting and delivery, but also sales and merchandising professionals who help promote each label they sell.
Distributors deliver customized inventory based on the requirements of each individual retailer in their local market.
Providing Tremendous Variety to Consumers
Because independent beer & wine distributors help get new brands to market, consumers benefit by having the choice between the largest international brands and the smallest local brands all on the same store shelf, restaurant list and bar tap.
Distributors provide a clear chain of custody in the sale of alcohol. Oregon’s independent beer & wine distributors are licensed by both the state and federal governments. Distributors source product only from federally-registered producers and sell it only to state-licensed retailers including restaurants and convenience stores. This system helps to ensure that retailers hold the appropriate license, do not sell to those under the legal drinking age and comply with local alcohol beverage laws. The system also ensures that alcohol is traceable; so if there were a suspected problem with a product, distributors could act swiftly to track the identified product and pull it from the marketplace.
This regulated distribution system also helps protect Oregon consumers from counterfeit and poisonous alcohol that is prevalent in many other countries that lack an effective regulatory structure. Oregon consumers enjoy unequaled safety thanks to the three-tier alcohol distribution system.
The same controls that provide accountability in alcohol sales also ensure states can efficiently collect taxes on alcohol products. Because distributors are able to monitor the product from the time it leaves the production facility until it arrives at a licensed retail outlet, they are often best equipped to collect state taxes and help the state enforce alcohol laws. For this reason, many states find it more efficient to collect taxes from a limited number of federally- and state-licensed distributors than from the hundreds or thousands of retail establishments that sell alcohol products.
Providing Value and Efficiency for Retailers
By storing perishable products, providing access to a diverse selection of brands at various price points, and hiring local citizens dedicated to helping sell beer and promote local businesses, Oregon’s licensed distributors provide tremendous value and efficiency to Oregon’s licensed alcohol retailers. Distributor services— like monitoring retailer shelves, taps and keg lines to ensure consumers are receiving the freshest product—reduce retailer operating costs and translate into dramatic annual savings for retail outlets across the country. Distributors also assist retailers through point-of-sale advertising, merchandising and stocking.
Additionally, distributors help ensure that bars, restaurants and stores that sell alcohol do so responsibly and only to those of legal drinking age by routinely providing materials that discourage underage sales. These materials—like signs, posters or stickers— are often seen on cooler doors and at cash registers when consumers purchase licensed beverages.