Our Industry

The manufacturing, distribution, sales and consumption of alcohol beverages are regulated differently than other food and beverages in the United States. In fact, few American industries are more highly regulated than the alcohol beverage industry, simply because of the unique properties of alcohol.

There are three separate and independent business groups in the alcohol beverage industry: Suppliers, distributors and retailers.

  1. Licensed SUPPLIERS (brewers, vintners and other manufacturers)
  2. Licensed DISTRIBUTORS (beer, wine and other low-proof distributors are privately-owned;
    the state of Ohio acts as the distributor of high-proof alcohol beverages)
  3. Licensed RETAILERS (your local grocery stores, club stores, convenience stores, restaurants, taverns, nightclubs and others)

The industry has operated successfully in this three-tier system since 1933. For a quick overview and more information, check out the NBWA video below.

Distributors purchase beer and wine from suppliers, storing them at local warehouses until local retailers place orders. This allows retailers to keep their inventory to a minimum and costs associated with storage. Additionally, same day or next day delivery helps maintain the freshness of many products for consumers.


Revenue Collection:  Ohio’s distributors monitor alcohol shipments into and within the state ensuring that products are tracked and taxed appropriately. The crucial oversight role they play ensures that Ohio has an accountable system of collecting alcohol taxes in the state.

“Retailers” are licensed by the state of Ohio and include such outlets as your local grocery store, a gourmet wine and beer shop, restaurants, pubs and taverns, private clubs, sports and concert venues and superstores.

Ohio’s beer and wine distribution industry makes a significant contribution to the state’s economy, and to local economies in every corner of Ohio.


Contributions to the Community: Distributors build or occupy local offices and warehouses, employ local citizens who support their families and pay local taxes. Because we are physically located in the communities where we market and deliver, Ohio’s beer and wine distributors and their employees are active supporters of local schools, health and social agencies, civic and service organizations, churches and the arts.

Each year, distributors contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to worthwhile local causes, and their employees provide countless hours of volunteer service to the communities they serve.


Who We Are