Press Release

The association plans to commemorate the upcoming 90th anniversary of the landmark repeal of Prohibition by hosting a series of exciting projects and a competition for beer distributors

NBWA Toasts 89th Anniversary of the 21st Amendment and Announces 2023 Campaign to Mark 90th

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, reflects on the importance of the 89th anniversary of the 21st Amendment. On December 5, 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed, and the 21st Amendment was ratified, ending Prohibition and paving the way for the subsequent state-based alcohol policies, which served as the foundation for the modern beer industry. Looking ahead to 2023 NBWA is excited to announce an educational campaign to highlight the importance of the three-tier system as well as opportunities for distributor members to get involved, including a new competition.

“Nearly ninety years ago, commonsense lawmaking prevailed, and the modern-day alcohol industry was born. Since then, the beer industry has flourished and continues to have a significant economic impact on the U.S.,” said NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser. “The repeal of Prohibition was an important moment in history because it created the most robust and competitive beverage alcohol market in the world. It also prompted the establishment of a state-based regulatory system that prioritizes fair competition and consumer safety. As we head into 2023, NBWA plans to honor this anniversary with an educational campaign that will encourage our distributor members to get involved to highlight the importance of the state-based regulatory system of alcohol in their communities. NBWA will honor a distributor that took the greatest initiative with an award at our 2023 Annual Convention in Las Vegas.”

The ratification of the 21st Amendment created the three-tier system, allowing small businesses to flourish and permitting a wide range of beverages to make their way onto the market. The three-tier system is a careful balance of control and access; alcoholic beverages can make their way safely to consumers because of the hard work of distributors. Before Prohibition, alcoholic beverages were delivered vertically to consumers – meaning production, distribution and/or sales could be controlled by the same entity – which created unsafe public health environments and unfair competition. The three-tier system holds all tiers accountable while allowing the U.S. economy to grow.

NBWA is proud to support the hardworking men and women of the beer distribution industry. 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.

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.