Press Release

NBWA Releases New Distributor Productivity Report

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

Updated 18th edition offers new industry insights

Alexandria, Va. – The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) is once again pleased to release the Distributor Productivity Report (DPR). This unique research from the beer distribution industry represents the most complete, accurate and up‐to‐date comparative financial and operating performance information available anywhere.

Here are some highlights from the most recent data. Please note, these statistics are for an “average” distributor in the survey; variations across rural vs urban markets or smaller metro vs larger metro areas will yield very different measures.

  • Net Sales continue to grow as the beer market becomes increasingly more high-end with a typical distributor reporting $48.8 million from net sales of 2.6 million cases.
  • A typical beer distributor in the survey covers a territory of over 5,000 square miles and serves approximately 652,000 people in their territory.
  • Their territory includes over 1,200 retail accounts where 55% are on premise accounts and 45% are off premise account. Among the on-premise accounts, there are over 5,500 tap handles pouring draft beer in their market.
  • In order to reach all these accounts, distributors operate 34 unique “driver routes” per week. On average, drivers will cover 308 miles, making 983 stops per week, and deliver1,500 cases per week per route.
  • The explosion of innovation from domestic brewers and importers means distributors are managing more brands than ever before. A typical beer distributor has over 37 supplier relationships including brewers and importers. Through these relationships, they will have 280 brands and over 1,100 SKUs in the portfolio of products.

Using the DPR report, owners and managers can find numerous ways to save a nickel per case on expenses. For the typical distributor that means going from $4.47 per case down to $4.42 – It’s only a 1.1% reduction in operating costs. However, a small expense savings levers up to much higher earnings increases. Going from $0.89 per case to $0.94 per case is a 5.6% increase in profitability. It’s also $50k more a year for a million-case operation and the increase in business’ value is a multiple of that number.

One of the most valuable features of the NBWA Distributor Productivity Report is that all firms participating in the survey received an in‐depth, confidential Company Productivity Report (CPR). This report presents a company’s confidential ratios and data computed in a manner consistent with those appearing in the industry report and displayed alongside the appropriate industry comparatives. These CPRs also included a “report card” comparing the responding distributor’s performance against the performance of its industry peers its industry peers.

As the beer distribution business gets more complex every day with more suppliers, more brands, and more retailer, distributors are working harder to get the right beer, to the right accounts and increase choice for consumers. The Distributor Productivity Report provides a benchmarking tool for distributors to evaluate their business for a more efficient and more profitable operation.

This year’s report is also available for purchase and can be ordered directly from Jenna Sugg at for $700 per copy.