America’s Beer Distributors Celebrate 80th Anniversary of 21st Amendment

ALEXANDRIA, VA On Thursday, America’s beer distributors will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, which repealed Prohibition and established today’s effective system of state-based alcohol regulation. An NBWA video playing in New York City’s Times Square highlights this historic anniversary.

On December 5, 1933, Prohibition ended in the United States when 36 states (a three-fourths majority of the then 48 states) ratified the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, ending 13 years of Prohibition and granting each state the primary authority to enact and enforce alcohol laws.

“For 80 years, Americans have benefited from a system of state-based alcohol regulation that balances robust competition with local social norms and community desires. Today, consumers of legal drinking age have access to thousands of different brands and styles of beer — from small regional craft brews, large multinational labels and imports from around the world — all delivered through a safe, transparent and accountable system,” said National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) President & CEO Craig Purser.

“America’s modern system of alcohol distribution works to protect the public and provide consumers with unparalleled choice and value,” Purser continued. “The one-size-fits-all federal ‘solution’ of Prohibition proved to create more problems than it solved — like the growth in organized crime and underground black market for alcohol depicted in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Prohibition. Contrast that to the 21st Amendment, which recognized that alcohol is a unique product best controlled by individual states and provided a solution that continues to be effective today.”

“America’s 3,300 independent, licensed beer distribution facilities — and the 130,000 men and women working in the industry — are proud to partner with states as part of this effective system,” Purser added.

According to a 2013 economic impact report — America’s Beer Distributors: Fueling Jobs, Generating Economic Growth & Delivering Value to Local Communities — America’s independent beer distributors fuel more than 345,000 direct and indirect jobs, add $54 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product and offer far reaching benefits to brewers, retailers, consumers and government agencies at all levels.

To view the full report, state by state data and to download an infographic of the report’s key findings, please visit Click here to view data on the economic impact of beer distributors on the United States as a whole.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents the interests of America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Beer distributors are committed to ensuring alcohol is provided safely and responsibly to consumers of legal drinking age through the three-tier, state-based system of alcohol regulation and distribution. To learn more about America’s beer distributors, visit For additional updates from NBWA, follow @NBWABeer on Twitter and visit

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