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Industry Links

The beer industry is comprised of brewers, wholesalers and retailers, making up what is known as the three-tier system. Combined, they are a major contributor to the United States economy.

Tier 1: The brewery, or supplier, makes the beer and packages it. Importers are suppliers that purchase beer from foreign countries and import it into the U.S.

Tier 2: Wholesalers represent suppliers in a designated territory, buying the beer from the brewery or importer and delivering it to retailers. Wholesalers drive sales and are involved in local marketing efforts in their territory.

Tier 3: Retailers are licensed by the state to sell alcohol and must purchase beer from a wholesaler. There are different types of licenses for bars and restaurants, grocery and convenience stores and festivals and one-day special events.