Beer Distributors Recognized for Outstanding Service to Industry and Local Communities

LAS VEGAS, NV — The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) honored several talented industry leaders today during NBWA’S 76th Annual Convention and Trade Show held September 29 — October 2 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The NBWA Life Service Award is presented to beer distributors who have dedicated a lifetime of service to the industry, community and fellow distributors. The first NBWA Life Service Award was presented to Joseph “Joe” DeMarco, chairman of the Board of Directors for High Grade Beverage based in South Brunswick, New Jersey. DeMarco has run High Grade Beverage in New Jersey since 1961.

“In addition to decades of participation in the New York and New Jersey state beer distributor associations, Joe has devoted years of service as a valuable member of the NBWA Board of Directors,” NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser said. “On top of his contributions to the beer distribution industry, he has worked with countless community organizations. From his service to St. Peter’s Medical Center to the American Cancer Society, Knights of Columbus and New Brunswick Elks, he is a true humanitarian and role model for other business leaders.

A second NBWA Life Service Award was presented to Bill Olson, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI). Olson began his career with ABDI in January 1985, working as an advocate for beer distributor interests and state-based alcohol regulation. He has served as president of the Wholesale Beer Association Executives and has been an active representative on the NBWA Industry Affairs Committee.

“Bill has been a champion for Illinois distributors the past 28 years, delivering results and serving with distinction,” Purser said.

NBWA 2012-2013 Chairman of the Board Bob Archer added, “Bill confronted head on an issue in Illinois involving the independence of beer distributors and the existing rights of small brewers. He persevered through intense, and some might say unprecedented, opposition by building a coalition of large and small brewers, retailers, distributors and public health groups to help clarify the separate and distinct roles of brewers and distributors. The compromise he helped achieve ensures that the state’s small brewers can maintain their current rights, while at the same time maintaining strong three-tier protections for the state of Illinois.”

The NBWA Public Affairs Award recognizes outstanding efforts to advocate for and promote the beer distribution industry through effective communications and public affairs initiatives. It was presented to Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. of Lincolnwood, Illinois. “There are so many new labels of beer entering the market today because independent distributors like Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. invest in new brands,” said Purser. “Distributors around the country promote new labels through point-of-sale promotional efforts, creative marketing, and working with brewers and retailers to help provide the customer with what works for them. But Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. also works to build brands through great public relations and earned media.”

The Whitey Littlefield Award was presented in memory of the man who served as the NBWA Political Action Committee (PAC) chairman 14 years ago and established the Chairman’s Circle recognition group to recognize those individuals who give the maximum contribution. Knowing that PAC support must be both deep and wide in order for it to grow, Whitey Littlefield also believed strongly in “drilling it down.” In that spirit, the Whitey Littlefield Award was presented to General Distributors, Inc., in Oregon City, Oregon, which has 10 employees participating in the NBWA PAC.

The R. Kenneth Kerr Award was presented in memory of the man who more than 30 years ago was an instrumental leader in the creation of the NBWA PAC. The award is presented to a distributor member who goes above and beyond to make sure the PAC grows year after year. This year’s award was presented to Travis Markstein, president of Markstein Beverage Company in San Marcos, California. As NBWA’s PAC chair last year, Markstein ensured that the NBWA PAC reached the $2 million mark as the association kick off its 75th anniversary year.

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, For additional updates from NBWA, follow @NBWABeer on Twitter, watch NBWA videos on and visit

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Marketplace Listing

The Brewbound Marketplace features listings for equipment, services, and more. Post a listing today.

Brewbound's Database of Breweries

Brewbound's database of breweries includes thousands of breweries from around the world.

Beer Events Calendar

A public calendar of events that are happening in the beer industry

View calendar | Post Event
Brewbound Live Winter 2020

Santa Monica, CA ● Dec. 3+4, 2020

Early Registration Open
Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.

Brewbound Job Board

A weekly live-streamed discussion series with beer industry leaders and watchers on the business adjustments being made during the COVID-19 crisis and the future of the industry.