With more than 2,800 breweries operating in the U.S. and a new brewery opening each day, craft beer provides significant contributions to the American beer industry and the economy.
Evan Feinberg's column “Free Pennsylvania's brew” praised the entrepreneurial spirit of craft brewers but wrongly criticized the system that has been integral to their success. Craft beer's exponential growth — 18 percent last year — is because of, not in spite of, the independent, three-tier distribution system (brewer, wholesale distributor and retailer) that ensures all brewers of all sizes can compete and gain access to all retailers of all sizes.
This distribution system, regulated by the states, provides the infrastructure for craft brewers to reach a wide network of retailers and customers. In Pennsylvania, local wholesale distribution businesses like ours work to ensure consumers see a vast selection of beers on menus and in retail outlets. In fact, Pennsylvania has been recognized among states with the best access to craft beers — with more than 275 different brands of beer available within our borders, according to the Seek-a-Brew website.
Our 325 employees are proud to be part of this system that allows access to market for breweries of all sizes and delivers a wide selection of beer to consumers.
Frank Fuhrer III
The writer is president of Frank Fuhrer Wholesale Co. on Pittsburgh's South Side.
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