Beer Wholesaling in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated

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Volumes are expected to remain low, diminishing overall revenue; however, the revival in the economy will help boost demand for beer. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Beer Wholesaling industry in its growing industry report collection.

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While rebounding consumer spending will facilitate growth, volumes will remain stagnant.

While other wholesalers face the threat of bypass or competition from suppliers that vertically integrate, three-tier distribution laws that require separation between manufacturers and retailers insulate beer distributors in the Beer Wholesaling industry. After Prohibition, most states implemented laws that require three distinct levels within the supply chain: producer, wholesaler and retailer. According to IBISWorld analyst Agata Kaczanowska, “as a result, beer wholesalers have a protected role, and their revenue remains relatively stable through good times and bad.” As a middleman serving the Breweries industry (IBISWorld report 31212), the Beer Wholesaling industry is in the mature stage of its life cycle, with relatively steady profit of about 4.0%.

Role security does not mean that the industry has conducted business as usual since 2007. “Changing tides from upstream and downstream industries have reshaped the wholesaling landscape,” says Kaczanowska. Beer production has changed rapidly, with more than four-fifths of its market share consolidated into just two companies (AB InBev and MillerCoors), and craft brewery popularity is growing. Meanwhile, changing consumer preferences have created other difficulties for wholesalers. Average consumption stagnated as Americans flocked to wines and cocktails during times of prosperity and shifted spending to cheaper brands during the recession. A recovery in 2012 is expected to stimulate a 0.3% revenue increase, and a combination of the above factors has caused revenue to grow at an average annual rate of 0.5% to $57.8 billion during the five years to 2012.

The Beer Wholesaling industry is extremely fragmented with the top four players accounting for less than 10.0% of revenue in 2012. However, there is a tendency for wholesalers to control a large proportion of market share over smaller regions. The limited size of distributors is due to heavy licensing requirements, which vary from state to state and make it difficult for wholesalers to cross state lines. The distribution of firms by employment size reflects this fragmentation. About 80.4% of firms employ fewer than 100 people and only about 2.2% of operators have more than 500 employees.

Slowly increasing consumer spending will help the industry's revenue to gain some momentum during the next five years. IBISWorld projects that revenue will grow during the five years to 2017. Once consumer spending rebounds, prices are expected to increase, facilitating revenue growth. Meanwhile, volumes will remain stagnant as strong demand for regional or microbrews cuts into mainstream sales. Revenue growth and a decline in firm numbers means that surviving firms will be larger and average company earnings will increase. Despite consolidation in this industry, the average industry profit is expected to stay steady as producers and retailers continue to squeeze the middleman's margins.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Beer Wholesaling in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in purchasing, storing, selling and distributing beer and other fermented malt beverages that are made by the Breweries industry (IBISWorld report 31212).

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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