WHAT IS A BEER AND WINE DISTRIBUTOR?
The people of North Carolina benefit from a system of state-based alcohol regulation that balances robust competition with community desires. Today, consumers of legal drinking age have access to thousands of different brands and styles of beer and wine—from locally-produced products to large multinational labels and imports from around the world—all delivered through a safe, transparent and accountable system.
In North Carolina, we have independent beer and wine distributors who operate as an essential cog in a highly-successful three-tier system of alcohol regulation. Suppliers (brewers or wineries) create the product that distributors deliver to the 18,000-plus retail permittees across the state. Those permittees include grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants and bars. This system works to protect the public and provide consumers with unparalleled choice and value.
Beer and wine distributors in North Carolina are family-owned companies. These companies directly employ more than 5,600 men and women who earn annual wages and benefits averaging $71,385. N.C. beer and wine distributors are responsible for the collection and payment of more than $140 million each year in excise taxes for the state.
Beer and wine distributors provide transportation, storage and maintenance for perishable products from the time it leaves the brewery/winery until it arrives at the retailer. Distributors ensure beer and wine are handled safely and sold only to licensed retailers.
Moreover, state regulation allows states the flexibility to deal with local circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach to alcohol regulation simply doesn’t work. For example, most people in North Carolina feel very differently about alcohol than those in New York or Illinois. The 21st Amendment was designed to reflect local thought on the level of regulation needed for alcohol, and beer and wine distributors work hand in hand with state regulators to further the state’s different approaches to regulation.
Beer and wine distributors play a vital role in their communities by sponsoring a vast array of programs that promote responsible consumption. The programs range from providing free taxi rides home from a range of events and venues for those who do not have a designated driver, to sponsoring alcohol-free after-prom events and producing educational materials to help parents talk to their children about illegal underage drinking.
America’s beer and wine distributors work hard to promote the responsible and legal consumption of alcoholic beverages by sponsoring and participating in many community-based efforts; such as, alcohol education programs in local schools, safe ride home programs, the creation and placement of public service announcements (PSAs) promoting responsibility, education materials, alcohol-free prom and graduation after-parties, safety training courses for alcohol beverage servers, safe boating campaigns and designated driver programs.
Beer & wine wholesalers operate within a strict state-based regulatory system that provides a transparent and accountable chain of custody in the sale of beer and wine, making it easier to enforce state laws and local ordinances. Working with their supplier and retailer partners, the American men and women of the beer and wine distribution industry play a critical role in the effort to eliminate drunk driving, alcohol abuse and the underage purchase and consumption of alcohol.
The U.S. beer industry has a long history of demonstrating a Commitment to Responsibility in promoting the moderate consumption of beer.
North Carolina beer distributors believe the best approach to combat drunk driving is to support effective, state-based solutions. NCBWWA supports the mandatory use of ignition interlocks for offenders with multiple DWI convictions and for drivers convicted of drunk driving with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher, even for a first time offense.
- Make certain alcohol is consumed by those of legal drinking age only.
- Make a list of taxicab services and phone numbers in your community.
- Always serve food with alcohol. Good food not only complements the beverages your guests are consuming but it also moderates the effects of alcohol.
- In addition to alcohol beverages, provide a variety of drinks including coffee, soft drinks, fruit juice, bottle water and non-alcoholic beer.
- Never force licensed beverages on your guests. Spacing drinks can help guests stay within their personal limits.
- Encourage moderate consumption by deciding ahead of time the amount of alcohol beverages to include. Consider how long your event will last and calculate about one drink per hour for each guest. A “drink” is defined as 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of table wine, 3 ounces of fortified wine, or 12 ounces of regular beer.
- Stop serving alcohol one hour before the party ends. Remember, it takes approximately one hour for the body to metabolize one drink.
- Consider hiring a bartender trained in professional and responsible serving methods so guests do not pour their own drinks. A trained bartender will be equipped to determine whether a guest has had too much to drink.
- Never hesitate to take the keys away from someone who has had too much to drink. Be prepared to call a taxicab or provide a room in your home for a guest to stay over.