The nation’s nearly 3,000 wine and spirits wholesaler locations are the crucial part of the responsible and efficient distribution system that delivers adults the widest variety of products available anywhere in the world in a manner that controls access for of-age consumers, delivers tax revenue to local, state and federal governments, and ensures product safety and consumer protection.
Wholesalers account for more than 74,000 jobs paying nearly $6.5 billion in wages and generate more than $50 billion in tax revenue.
Wholesalers are the important central link in the three-tier system of beverage alcohol production, distribution and sales in place in the United States.
How Does a Bottle Get to You?
In the first tier, alcohol beverages are produced at distilleries, breweries and wineries around the world. These facilities and their owners pay excise taxes required by the federal government.
In the middle tier are wholesalers. They are the local marketing, logistics and distribution experts for the many thousands of brands and products available to consumers at hundreds of thousands of retail and on-premise locations throughout the country. Wholesalers collect most excise taxes for state and local governments. They also work with retail outlets, bars and restaurants to develop effective local advertising campaigns, point of sale displays and promotional events.
The third tier is represented by outlets where Americans purchase beverages: bars and restaurants (known as on-premise facilities) and retail establishments (known as off-premise facilities).
Benefits of the Three-Tier System
The three-tier system protects consumers by ensuring only legitimate, unadulterated product is sold to customers of legal age, and guarantees a predictable flow of tax revenue to government with appropriate regulatory oversight. This structure also ensures that vertically-integrated monopolies cannot exist across all tiers of the system, while also balancing the competing interests of many companies and ensuring an orderly and well-managed marketplace.
Within the three-tier system, wholesalers bring alcohol beverages made around the world to your local retailers using the most efficient logistics systems to provide Americans the widest consumer choice of alcohol beverages in the world. Wholesalers build alcohol beverage brands in the local marketplace by providing retailers sophisticated marketing and product education services for wine and spirits brand owners.