Press Release

State alcohol laws created by the 21st Amendment continue to support a robust U.S. beer industry

America’s Beer Distributors Raise a Glass to the 88th Anniversary of the 21st Amendment

Media contact: Erin Donar | | 703-229-3702

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), the leading voice for the nation’s 3,000 independent beer distributors, is raising a glass in honor of the upcoming 88th anniversary of “Repeal Day.” On December 5, 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed and the 21st amendment ratified, ending Prohibition and paving the way for the subsequent state-based alcohol policies, which serve as the foundation for the modern beer industry.

“Eighty-eight years ago, this country recognized that states are the best decision makers on alcohol policy. By repealing federal Prohibition and replacing it with state-based alcohol laws under the 21st Amendment, the country created a robust regulatory system that has created today’s thriving beer and alcohol beverage marketplace,” said NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser. “The repeal of Prohibition will always be a significant moment in history for beer, as it allowed the industry to flourish legally once more, creating the most robust and competitive beverage alcohol market in the world. It also catalyzed the establishment of a state-based regulatory system that prioritizes consumer safety above all else.”

Colloquially known as “Repeal Day,” the holiday is an annual celebration for the beer industry celebrating the ratification of the 21st amendment. The Amendment granted full regulatory power of alcohol and the alcohol industry to the states. The regulatory structure that would be developed is now known as the three-tier system, as it separates the production, distribution and sale of alcohol.

Since repeal, the beer industry has flourished, and continues to have a significant economic impact year after year. A report published biennially by NBWA found that brewers, beer importers and beer distributors fuel two million jobs and provide a total economic contribution of $331 billion, roughly 1.6% of U.S. GDP. These jobs include 71,000 manufacturing jobs; 68,000 beer and beer importing jobs; 142,000 distribution jobs and 876,000 retail jobs. Additionally, the report showed beer’s hyper-local impact, detailing that each job in the beer industry generates an average of another 30 across several other sectors, including farmers, truck drivers and service workers.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support beer distributors across the country in our work at NBWA,” continued Purser. “Distributors are an integral component of their local community, keeping shelves stocked and ensuring consumers have access to their favorite beers throughout the holiday season and year-round. Today, we collectively raise a glass to distributors and to historic commonsense lawmaking that continues to bolster our industry.”

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors who service every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Licensed at the federal and state levels, beer distributors get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to stores, restaurants and other licensed retail accounts through a transparent and accountable regulatory system. Distributors build brands of all sizes – from familiar domestic beers to new startup labels and imports from around the world – and generate enormous consumer choice while supporting more than 140,000 quality jobs in their home communities. Beer distributors work locally to keep communities safe by sponsoring programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and reduce underage drinking.