Beer Distributors

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Quarterly Insight, Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 1,400 beer distributors in the US are the middlemen between the suppliers (breweries and importers) and the retailers (grocery stores, convenience stores, bars, restaurants, sporting venues etc.). Distributors must provide climate-controlled storage, transportation, and maintenance for perishable malt beverages from the time they leave the brewery until they arrive at the retailer.

Competition from Larger Distributors

Beer distributors are typically small, local operations, but the industry has been consolidating as larger distributors expand through acquisitions.

Shifts in Beer Consumption

Beer’s market share of alcohol consumption is slowly declining due to competition from wine and liquor, as well as health consciousness.

Industry size & Structure

The average beer distributor operates 1-2 warehouses, employs 79 workers and generates about $48 million in annual revenue.

    • The US has about 1,400 beer distributors with annual sales of about $68 billion and about 111,500 employees.
    • The largest populations of beer distributors include California (164), New York (125), Pennsylvania (104), Texas (110), Florida (77) and Illinois (62).
    • Average inventory is about $5 million.
    • 77% of distributors employ less than 100 employees.
    • Top distributors in the US include Reyes Holdings, Goldring Gulf Holdings, Ben E. Keith Beverages, Silver Eagle Distributors LP, and Manhattan Beer Distributors LLC.
    • The number of breweries that supply the distribution industry is rapidly increasing. Currently, there are about 8,884 breweries in the US, up from 250 in 1990 and 2,300 in 2010.
                                      Industry Forecast
                                      Beer Distributors Industry Growth
                                      Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                      Coronavirus Update

                                      Apr 29, 2022 - Ukraine War Could Worsen Aluminum Can Shortage
                                      • Distributors may have difficulty maintaining adequate supplies of products from small brewers and distillers due to the aluminum can shortage. After dropping in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, demand for aluminum grew 11% in 2021 as beverage can manufacturers, car makers, and other manufacturers increased production, according to the Aluminum Association. The global aluminum market has also been shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions on Russia by the US and its allies. Before the invasion, Russia accounted for about 6% of aluminum made in US smelters, according to industry insiders cited by The Wall Street Journal.
                                      • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also prompted some major alcoholic beverage companies to pull back from the Russian market. Beer giants Anheuser-Busch InBev, Carlsberg, Heineken all plan to exit Russia.
                                      • New COVID-19 cases are decreasing nationally, which could help drive an increase in away-from-home beer consumption. In late April 2022, the CDC announced that according to the agency’s research, about 60% of the US population had been infected with COVID-19 by February 2022. Some medical experts suggest the high rate of infection and the resulting increase in immunity among the US population may signal a new phase where infections cause less and less severe illness.
                                      • Twenty-three states prohibit proof-of-vaccination requirements for entry to businesses including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Twelve states -- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington — have digital apps available for vaccine verification. Some major cities that had required proof of vaccination for indoor dining – including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Boston - have since removed the requirement. Hawaii, the final holdout among states with indoor masking mandates, let its mask mandate expire on March 25. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that masks be worn in areas of substantial or high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
                                      • Demand for beverages of all kinds is rising during the coronavirus pandemic, but beer distributors may struggle to maintain adequate supply due to an aluminum can shortage. "Aluminum cans are in very tight supply with so many people buying more multi-pack products to consume at home," Coca-Cola spokesperson Ann Moore said. Can manufacturers have announced plans to build at least three new factories within the next 18 months. Can maker Ball Corp. will open two new US plants and is adding two new production lines to existing US facilities.
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