WASHINGTON, D.C. – Independent beer distributors from all 50 states were in Washington, D.C. this week for the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) 2019 Legislative Conference. During the conference, beer distributors are meeting with members of Congress to discuss the critical role beer distributors play in communities across the country and the economic and employment power the independent distribution industry delivers.
NBWA Chairman of the Board Michael Schilleci welcomed conference attendees by highlighting the enthusiasm throughout the beer distribution industry – an industry with a great story to tell. During the opening session, Schilleci, who is also president and CEO of Supreme Beverage Company in Birmingham, Ala., said that in addition to legislative issues, distributors “are here to tell Congress about the work we do every day to provide our employees with good pay, strong benefits and upward mobility. They need to know how valuable beer distributors are to the economic landscape.”
NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser noted that the goal of the Legislative Conference each year is to further strengthen the beer distribution industry, NBWA member companies and the overall beer category. Purser remarked that the conference gives beer distributors an opportunity to discuss key industry policy priorities at both the state and federal level, including regulatory challenges and opportunities, as well as share best practices with leading industry players.
Purser encouraged distributors to discuss with lawmakers the role they play in providing consumers a safe, reliable product and the effectiveness of America’s time-tested system of state regulation.
“We must educate these new members of Congress about the value that independent distributors add and on our effective regulatory system for alcohol. Distributors play an essential role in providing choice and variety for thirsty beer drinkers across the country.”
Additionally, Purser highlighted how independent beer distributors, which operate in every congressional district in America, serve as local economic engines in communities from coast to coast.
He noted that beer distributors, which are local businesses, directly employ 141,000 Americans which “is more than nearly half of the top 100 employers in the nation.”
In addition to beer distributors’ one-on-one meetings with members of Congress, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) addressed NBWA conference attendees with a legislative update. Tomorrow they will hear from Assistant Speaker of the House Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), as well as Cannabis Caucus leaders Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) who will provide an update on federal marijuana policy.
Conference participants also received an update on the landmark Supreme Court case Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas from legal experts Paul Pisano, NBWA general counsel; John Neiman, shareholder at Maynard Cooper; and Mike Madigan, partner at Madigan, Dahl & Harlan, P.A.
CNN political commentator Paul Begala spoke at the program with an analysis of the political environment in Washington, D.C. and in the states.
Beer distributors went to Capitol Hill to address top policy concerns with their respective members of Congress, including:
Supporting America’s Independent Beer Distribution System
Commercial Driver’s License Workforce Development
Transportation and Infrastructure
Federal Tax Issues
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Issues