Beverage Distributors and Wholesalers

By Marianne Cotter, writer
Feb 07, 2011
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

Beverage distributors and wholesalers stand ready to help you satisfy a thirsty clientele

Beverage wholesalers and distributors are the typical go-to sources for drinks for restaurants, fast food chains, hotels and institutions. While the large general food distributors handle wholesale beverages as part of their product line, some specialty drinks as well as alcoholic beverages may require special sourcing from beverage suppliers.

Beverage distributors deal with all kinds of beverages. Carbonated soft drinks account for the lion’s share of the beverage market — 28.3 percent according to the Beverage Marketing Association — followed by milk, bottled water, beer and coffee. However, chai teas, vitamin waters, energy drinks and other innovative products are adding considerable variety to the wholesale beverages market.

When looking for beverage distributors and wholesalers, consider the following:

1. Buying from major food and beverage wholesalers.
2. Beverage suppliers for restaurants and caterers.
3. Alcoholic beverage distributors.
4. Coffee and tea beverage suppliers.
5. Bottled water beverage distributors.

Buy wholesale beverages from the major food wholesalers

Each of the big food and beverage wholesalers carries a complete line of soft drink beverages. These beverage distributors and wholesalers service grocery stores as well as the hospitality, education, healthcare, government and military industries.

Use beverage suppliers for restaurants and caterers

Finding beverage suppliers for smaller operations like restaurants and catering businesses is a matter of local sourcing.

Alcoholic beverage distributors

After prohibition ended, the government set up a three-tier distribution system for alcoholic beverages: A producer must sell to a distributor who must then sell to a retailer (brewpubs and wineries that sell on-site are exceptions). Most producers grant exclusive regional rights to a single distributor, which means you must deal with several different local beverage suppliers to get a variety of beer, wine and spirits.
beer distributors will help direct you to distributors in your state or region.

Finding beverage suppliers for bottled water

Many beverage suppliers specialize in bottled water, a large and rapidly expanding category.

Coffee and tea beverage distributors and wholesalers

Offering coffees and teas by brand is a very competitive way for a caterer or restaurateur to distinguish an establishment.
tea distributors and wholesalers to find local and national beverage suppliers.
  • Choose beverage wholesalers that offer attractive pricing for the quantities you need.
  • Serving locally produced beverages from local beverage suppliers helps brand your restaurant as a regional specialist.
  • Sourcing coffees and teas from beverage suppliers who deal with fair trade producers can send a sound statement of ethics to your customers.
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